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Public Impact

Harm Done to Child Pornography Victims

Shifting the Cost of Abuse From Victims to Those Who Caused It


Doe No. 1 v. Knights of Columbus, 930 F.Supp.2d 337 (D. Conn. 2013)

holding that Connecticut’s thirty-year statute of limitations applied to Plaintiff’s negligence claims, and finding that because Plaintiff filed the action only twenty-four years after he turned eighteen, Plaintiff’s action was timely

Walker v. Three Angels Broadcasting Network, Inc., No.12–cv–114–DRH–SCW, 2012 WL 4088844 (S.D. Ill. Sept. 17, 2012)

holding that Defendant did not have standing to challenge either the legal sufficiency or timeliness of Plaintiff’s 18 U.S.C. § 2255 claims because Defendant was not a named defendant on that count, and therefore, finding that the court could not reach the merits of Defendant’s claims

Why Victims Delay

Patterns of disclosure – delay and non-disclosure

Kogan (2004) (n = 263 adolescents) Smith et al. (2000) (n = 288 adults)
Told within 24 hours 24% 18%
Told within 1 month 19% 9%
Told within 1 year 12% 11%
Delayed telling more than 1 year 19% 47%
Never told before survey 26% 28%

‘Most people who experience sexual abuse in childhood do not disclose this abuse until adulthood’

SourceMcElvaney, R., Disclosure of Child Sexual Abuse: Delays, Non-disclosure and Partial Disclosure. What the Research Tells Us and Implications for Practice. Child Abuse Rev.. doi: 10.1002/car.2280 (2013)

Effects of Trauma

Consequences of child sex abuse Source: Long-term health outcomes of childhood sexual abuse -American Nurse Today

  • R.L., Plaintiff-Respondent, v. VOYTAC, New Jersey Supreme Court (2009) – “At issue in this matter is the interpretation of the statute of limitations provision of the Child Sexual Abuse Act (the Act), N.J.S.A. 2A:61B-1. The Act provides in relevant part that an action for child sexual abuse shall be brought within two years after the ‘reasonable discovery of the injury and its causal relationship to the act of sexual abuse.‘ N.J.S.A. 2A:61B-1b. Additionally, the Act provides for a tolling of the statute of limitations because of ‘the plaintiff’s mental state, duress by the defendant, or any other equitable grounds.‘ N.J.S.A. 2A:61B-1c. We conclude that pursuant to the Act, the trial court must first determine when a reasonable person subjected to childhood abuse would discover that the defendant’s conduct caused him or her injury. That is an objective test. If that period is more than two years prior to the filing of the complaint, then the court must next determine whether the statute should be tolled because of ‘the plaintiff’s mental state, duress by the defendant, or any other equitable grounds.‘”
  • APA_Amicus_Brief_in_Stogner (2003) – Amicus brief of the American Psychiatric Association in the U.S. Supreme court case of Stogner v.  California. The brief contains a lengthy list of scientific studies on the impact of sexual abuse and the difficulties survivors face coming forward. This was the case that dealt with California’s efforts to revive previously time barred criminal cases back in 2002.  Ultimately, the U.S.  Supreme Court held that effort to be unconstitutional.
  • Hershkowitz, et al., Exploring the disclosure of child sexual abuse with alleged victims and their parents (2007) – Findings: More than half (53%) of the children delayed disclosure for between 1 week and 2 years, fewer than half first disclosed to their parents, and over 40% did not disclose spontaneously but did so only after they were prompted; 50% of the children reported feeling afraid or ashamed of their parents’ responses, and their parents indeed tended to blame the children or act angrily. The disclosure process varied depending on the children’s ages, the severity and frequency of abuse, the parents’ expected reactions, the suspects’ identities, and the strategies they had used to foster secrecy.
  • Lippert, et al (2009) Predictors of Disclosure – Expanding on previous studies, it explores more thoroughly how previous disclosure relates to disclosure at a forensic inter-view, examines how both age at onset and age at forensic interview relate to disclosure, and tests whether disclosure rates differ across communities, including a comparison of communities with and without a CAC.

Offline Resources

Delayed Discovery Offline Resources

  • Somer, E. & Szwarcberg.  (2010).  Variables in delayed disclosure of childhood sexual abuse.  American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 71, 332-341.
  • John Jay College of Criminal Justice.  (2004).  The Nature and Scope of the Problem of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Catholic Priests and Deacons in the United States.  Washington, DC: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
  • Smith, D. W., Letourneau, E. j., Saunders, B. E., Kilpatrick, D. G., Resnick, H.S., & Best, C. L. (2000). Delay in disclosure of childhood rape: Results from a national survey. Child Abuse and Neglect, 24, 273-287.
  • Smith, D. W., Letourneau, E. j., Saunders, B. E., Kilpatrick, D. G., Resnick, H. Gartner, R.B. (1999).  Betrayed as Boys:  Psychodynamic Treatment of Sexually Abused Men.  NY: Guilford.
  • Herman, J.  (1992, 1997).  Trauma and Recovery:  The Aftermath of Violence from Domestic Abuse to Political Terror.  NY: Basic Books.
  • Elliott, D.N.; Browne, K., and Kilcoyne, J.  (1995).  Child sexual abuse prevalence – what offenders tell us.  Child Abuse & Neglect, 19: 579-594.
  • Davies, J.M., and Frawley, M.G. (1994).  Treating the Adult Survivor of Childhood Sexual Abuse: A Psychoanalytic Perspective.  NY: Basic Books.
  • Finkelhor, D. (1994). Current information on the scope and nature of child sexual abuseFuture of Children, 4, 31-53.
  • Anderson, J., Martin, J., Mullen, P., Romans, S., & Herbison, P. (1993). Prevalence of childhood sexual abuse experiences in a community sample of women. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
  • Waite, E.A.  (1993).  Trauma and Survival:  Post-Traumatic and Dissociative Disorders in Women.  NY: Norton.
  • Wyatt, G. E., & Newcomb, M. (1990). Internal and external mediators of women’s sexual abuse in childhood. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 58, 758-767.
  • Conte, J.R., Wolf, S., Smith, T. (1989) What sexual offenders tell us about prevention strategies. Child Abuse Neglect, 13:293-301.
  • Courtois, C.A.  (1988).  Healing the Incest Wound.  NY: Norton.
  • Russell, D.E.H.  (1986).  The Secret Trauma:  Incest in the Lives or Girls and Women.  NY:  Basic Books.