Sexual Abuse


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Advanced Topics: Child Maltreatment Theory
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Southern Arkansas University
Kimberly Keith, MEd, LPC

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Sexual Abuse

  2. 2. Sexual Abuse Definition and Types
  3. 3. Definitions <ul><li>  1978 – National Center on Child Abuse and Neglect </li></ul><ul><ul><li>  Contacts or interactions between a child and an adult when the child is being used for the sexual stimulation of the perpetrator or another person. Sexual abuse may also be committed by a person under the age of 18 when that person is either significantly older than the victim or when the perpetrator is in a position of power or control over another child. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>4 Components of Sexual Abuse Definition </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Includes extrafamilial abuse as well as intrafamilial abuse (incest). </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Includes both physical contact and noncontact sexual activities. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Includes an adult’s exploitation of his or her authority, knowledge, and power to achieve sexual ends. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Includes language that addresses the age or maturational advantage of the perpetrator over the victim. </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. Arkansas Code 12-12-503 <ul><li>  Sexual abuse means: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Sexual intercourse, deviate sexual activity, or sexual contact by forcible compulsion </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Attempted sexual intercourse, deviate sexual activity, or sexual contact </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Indecent exposure </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Forcing, permitting, or encouraging the watching of pornography or live sexual activity </li></ul></ul><ul><li>  Sexual exploitation means allowing, permitting, or encouraging participation or depiction of the juvenile in prostitution, obscene photographing, filming, or obscenely depicting a juvenile for any use or purpose </li></ul>
  5. 5. Sexual Abuse is Priority One in Arkansas and does not require that the offender be a caretaker of the child. <ul><li>  SEXUAL CONTACT </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Definition - Any non-penetrative act involving the touching, directly or through clothing, of the sex organs, or buttocks, or anus of any child or the breast of a female child. This includes encouraging, forcing, or permitting the child to inappropriately touch parts of the alleged offender’s body generally associated with sexual activity. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>  SEXUAL EXPLOITATION </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Definition - Allowing, permitting, or encouraging participation or depiction of the juvenile in prostitution, obscene photographing, filming, or obscenely depicting a juvenile for any use or purpose. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>  SEXUAL PENETRATION </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Definition - Any penetration, however slight, of any part of the body of one person or any animal or object into the sex organ or anus of another person when at least one of the persons involved is a child. This includes acts commonly known as anal penetration, digital penetration, coition, coitus and copulation. </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Sexual contact resulted from one of the following: <ul><li>A direct action by a parent or caretaker ten years of age or older (abuse); </li></ul><ul><li>A direct action by any person under any of the following circumstances: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>(a) The alleged offender is ten (10) years of age or older and the alleged victim is under the age of eighteen and forcible compulsion was used in the act or attempt, or </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Forcible Compulsion – physical force or a threat, express or implied, of death or physical injury to or kidnapping of any person. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>(b) One person is eighteen (18) or older and the other is under the age of sixteen and not the spouse, or </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>(c) One person is a caretaker or sibling of the other who is less than eighteen (18) years old </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The failure of the parent or caretaker to make reasonable efforts to stop an action by another person which resulted in sexual contact (failure to protect). </li></ul><ul><li>When a child’s behavior would tend to indicate the child has been a victim of sexual contact. This does not include developmentally appropriate behavior. </li></ul>
  7. 7. Internet stalking of a child <ul><li>The person being twenty-one (21) years of age or older knowingly uses a computer online service, internet service, or local internet bulletin board service to: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Seduce, solicit, lure, or entice a child fifteen (15) years of age or younger in an effort to arrange a meeting with the child for the purpose of engaging in </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>(A)  Sexual intercourse </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>(B)  Sexually explicit conduct </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>(C)  Deviate sexual activity </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>..or, an individual that the person believes to be fifteen (15) years of age or younger </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. Internet Stalking of a Child <ul><li>Compile, transmit, publish, reproduce, buy, sell, receive, exchange, or disseminate the name, telephone number, electronic mail address, residence address, picture, physical description, characteristics, or any other identifying information on a child fifteen (15) years of age or younger in furtherance of an effort to arrange a meeting with the child for the purpose of engaging in sexual abuse: </li></ul><ul><li>… or, an individual that the person believes to be fifteen (15) years of age or younger </li></ul>
  9. 9. <ul><li>Initiation and Maintenance of Sexual Abuse </li></ul>Dynamics of Child Sexual Abuse
  10. 10. Initiation of Abuse <ul><li>Desensitization - ‘ grooming ’ – involves a progression from nonsexual to sexual touch in the context of a gradually developing relationship. Typically begins with seemingly accidental or affectionate touches and then proceeds to sexual touches. </li></ul><ul><li>Other common initiation tactics </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Misuse of adult authority or misrepresentation of moral standards – claiming that the behavior is not sexual, or that it is acceptable. (“It’s OK, you’re my daughter; or I’m teaching you about sex.”) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Separating the child from protective adults; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Conditioning the child through reward (money, attention, toys, clothes, etc.) and punishment (threatening to hurt the child or loved ones); </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Forcing the child to observe violence against their mothers; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Using physical force or threatening gestures; </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. Maintenance of Abuse <ul><li>  Convincing the child to keep it a secret </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Bribes – attention, money, toys </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Threats – to harm or kill the child, a loved one, or pet, to send them away, to withdraw special privileges, to show pictures of the child involved in sexual acts </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Physical aggression – physically overpowering the child </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. <ul><li>Models of the Development and Occurrence of Sexual Abuse and Pedophilia </li></ul>Theories of Child Sexual Abuse
  13. 13. Pathways Model –Ward <ul><li>The Pathways Model suggests that the extent to which persons experience difficulties in four clusters of psychological problems largely explains the primary reasons that they engage in sex offending behavior </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Cognitive distortions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Emotional management difficulties </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Intimacy and social skills deficits </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Deviant or unhealthy sexual scripts </li></ul></ul><ul><li>So depending upon what their main deficits are, they fall into one of the following five pathways: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Multiple dysfunctional mechanisms pathway </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Deviant sexual scripts pathway </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Intimacy deficits pathway </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Emotional dysregulation pathway </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Antisocial cognitions pathway </li></ul></ul>
  14. 14. Integrated Theory - Marshall <ul><li>According to this influential theory, sexual offending behaviors are the result of a combination of: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>biological </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>developmental </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>environmental influences </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>cultural influences </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>individual vulnerabilities and situational factors </li></ul></ul>
  15. 15. Confluence Model - Malamuth <ul><li>A combination of three primary clusters of risk factors increases the likelihood that an individual will become sexually aggressive toward women. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Motivators </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Disinhibitors </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Opportunities </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The interaction of these risk factors results in two pathways to sex offending: the sexually promiscuous pathway and the hostile masculinity pathway. </li></ul>
  16. 16. Risk Factors in Child Sexual Abuse
  17. 17. Individual Child Factors <ul><li>Middle childhood (7-12 yrs) though official reporting statistics show little variability across ages for children from birth to age 17. </li></ul><ul><li>Girls 3 x more likely to be sexually abused, but males may be less likely to report </li></ul>
  18. 18. Individual Perpetrator Factors <ul><li>Median age 32 </li></ul><ul><li>43% of sexual abuse against children under age 7 perpetrated by juvenile offenders </li></ul><ul><li>75% of perps are male </li></ul>
  19. 19. Other Risk Factors <ul><li>76% of perps were friends or neighbors </li></ul><ul><li>33% of perps were family members </li></ul><ul><li>90% of offenders under age 12 know their offender </li></ul><ul><li>Stepfather family or living without both natural parents for extended period </li></ul><ul><li>Employed, disabled, or ill mother </li></ul><ul><li>Parental relationship in conflict </li></ul><ul><li>Parental drug/alcohol abuse </li></ul><ul><li>Child has few close friends </li></ul>
  20. 20. Sexual Offender Characteristics
  21. 21. Deviant sexual arousal, interests, or preferences <ul><li>Engaging in sexual contact with young children or adolescents </li></ul><ul><li>Having sexual contact with others against their will or without their consent </li></ul><ul><li>Inflicting pain or humiliation on others </li></ul><ul><li>Participating in or watching acts of physical aggression or violence </li></ul><ul><li>Exposing oneself in a public setting </li></ul><ul><li>Secretly watching others who are undressing, unclothed, or engaging in sexual activities </li></ul>
  22. 22. Cognitive Distortions or Pro–Offending Attitudes <ul><li>Sex offenders may tell themselves (and even tell others) that the behavior is not harmful or that it is less serious, or claim that the victim enjoyed the behavior or initiated the sexual contact, or they may come up with justifications for engaging in sex offending behaviors, such as believing that women deserve to be treated in these ways. </li></ul><ul><li>In so doing, these self–statements give the offenders “permission” to do something that they know is wrong, and therefore they may not feel as badly about themselves for doing it. </li></ul>
  23. 23. Social, interpersonal, and intimacy deficits <ul><li>Fairly common among sex offenders are problems in the social or interpersonal realm, with issues such as: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Ineffective communication skills </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Social isolation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>General social skills deficits </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sexual anxiety </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Problems in intimate relationships </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Blockage – </li></ul><ul><ul><li>fixation at a developmental level that leaves him incapable of progressing to mutually satisfying adult relationships; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>problems relating to adult women, access to adult sexual relationship is blocked </li></ul></ul>
  24. 24. Victim empathy deficits <ul><li>A specific interpersonal problem that is believed to be common to many sex offenders is that of empathy deficits, putting oneself in another person’s shoes, so to speak, or the ability to feel what another person may be feeling. </li></ul><ul><li>For some time it was believed that sex offenders lacked the ability to be empathic in general, although later it was suggested that their deficits were more specific to their victims. </li></ul>
  25. 25. Poor coping or self–management skills <ul><li>Some offenders have difficulties managing their emotions appropriately. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Impulsiveness under stress; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>difficulty with self-regulation; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>using sexualized methods of coping with anxiety and emotional distress </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Disinhibition due to alcohol or drug use </li></ul></ul><ul><li>These factors are not unique to sex offenders; nor do they cause people to commit sex offenses. </li></ul><ul><li>These factors—specifically emotional and behavioral self–regulation difficulties—may be part of what leads someone down the path to sex offending, and they are also associated with reoffending. </li></ul>
  26. 26. History of maltreatment <ul><li>Research finds a relatively high prevalence of childhood sexual or physical abuse among samples of sex offenders. </li></ul><ul><li>There may be some sort of relationship between having been maltreated and later engaging in sex offending behaviors, especially when other kinds of vulnerability or risk factors are present. </li></ul><ul><li>But in and of itself, there is no research that supports the notion that it actually causes sex offending. </li></ul>
  27. 27. How a History of Abuse May Affect Child Sexual Abuser <ul><li>Possible explanations: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Abuses in an effort to resolve, assimilate, or master the anxiety resulting from their own abuse </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Lack of development of empathy because of their lack of nurturing parental relationship, experience of betrayal as a child, and the subordination of their own needs to those of an abuser </li></ul></ul><ul><li>  Intergenerational transmission of sexual abuse is much less prevalent than for child physical abuse. </li></ul>
  28. 28. A Model for Understanding the Development of a Child Sexual Abuser <ul><li>Stressful early development that includes the following risk factors contributes to the development of sexually abusive behavior: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Poor attachment between parent and child (associated with lack of empathy, intimacy deficits, emotional disregulation) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Limited coping abilities (impulsiveness under stress, alcohol and drug use, sexualized coping methods) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Low-quality relationships with others (intimacy deficits, social isolation, use of pornography, lack of developing satisfying adult relationships) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>History of sexual abuse (development of deviant sexual scripts, antisocial cognitions, sexualized coping methods) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Abuses in an effort to resolve, assimilate, or master the anxiety resulting from their own abuse </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Lack of development of empathy </li></ul></ul></ul>
  29. 29. The Potential Offender <ul><li>  Two predisposing factors need to be present for the potential offender to reach a ‘tipping point’ to sexually abuse. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Access to a victim </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Disinhibition (cognitive distortions; impulsiveness; alcohol use) </li></ul></ul>
  30. 30. Sources <ul><li>Miller-Perrin, Cindy L. & Perrin, Robin. Child Maltreatment: An introduction . 2007. Thousand Oaks: Sage </li></ul><ul><li>Arkansas Code 12-12-503. Definitions </li></ul><ul><li>Arkansas Code 5-27-306. Internet Stalking of a Child </li></ul><ul><li>Arkansas Child Maltreatment Assessment Protocol </li></ul><ul><li>Understanding Sex Offenders: An Introductory Curriculum . Center for Sex Offender Management. </li></ul>