False allegations of child sexual abuse by children are rare

“allegations made by child victims match closely with confessions of pedophiles”

“The evidence indicates that very few (children) lied originally.”

“children tend to minimize and deny abuse, not exaggerate or over-report such incidents”

How often do children’s reports of abuse turn out to be false? Research has consistently shown that false allegations of child sexual abuse by children are rare. Jones and McGraw examined 576 consecutive referrals of child sexual abuse to the Denver Department of Social Services, and categorized the reports as either reliable or fictitious. In only 1% of the total cases were children judged to have advanced a fictitious allegation. Jones, D. P. H., and J. M. McGraw: Reliable and Fictitious Accounts of Sexual Abuse to Children. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 2, 27-45, 1987. In a more recent study, investigators reviewed case notes of all child sexual abuse reports to the Denver Department of Social Services over 12 months. Of the 551 cases reviewed, there were only 14 (2.5%) instances of erroneous concerns about abuse emanating from children. These consisted of three cases of allegations made in collusion with a parent, three cases where an innocent event was misinterpreted as sexual abuse and eight cases (1.5%) of false allegations of sexual abuse. Oates, R. K., D.P. Jones, D. Denson, A. Sirotnak, N. Gary, and R.D. Krugman: Erroneous Concerns about Child Sexual Abuse. Child Abuse & Neglect 24:149-57, 2000….Children Tend to Understate Rather than Overstate the Extent of Any Abuse Experienced – Research with children whose sexual abuse has been proven has shown that children tend to minimize and deny abuse, not exaggerate or over-report such incidents. http://www.leadershipcouncil.org/1/res/csa-acc.html


Children’s Testimony More Reliable than Physical Exams

Allegations made by child victims of sexual abuse closely match the confessions of perpetrators. In addition, physical exams are unreliable indicators of sexual abuse.

Children’s testimony more reliable than physical exams in cases of sexual abuse

Contact: Jim Feuer, Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati
jfeuer@chmcc.org; 513-636-4420

Although many people find a child’s testimony in cases of sexual abuse hard to believe, a new study proves that their allegations should be taken seriously.

The study, conducted at Children’s Hospital Medical Center of Cincinnati, shows that allegations made by child victims match closely with confessions of pedophiles. The study also shows that genital exams are most often normal in victims of sexual abuse, even when genital penetration is admitted to, making it all the more imperative to listen to what children say, according to the study’s authors….

The researchers reviewed the records of 31 pedophiles who confessed between 1994 and 1999. The case files contained all available victim, witness and perpetrator statements, and pertinent victim medical records. They analyzed each case for admissions or denials of specific sexual acts. They also analyzed victim medical histories, examinations and reports from criminal investigators for specific histories of sexual assault and exam findings.

The 31 perpetrators confessed to a total of 101 acts of sexual abuse, some of which they committed multiple times. The perpetrators abused 47 children. The 45 old enough to provide a history described 111 acts of sexual abuse.

The perpetrators confessed to 68 percent of their victims’ allegations, and they denied 6 percent. The only acts denied were some allegations of penile-vaginal and penile-rectal penetration, possibly because of the stiffer criminal penalties associated with penetration, according to Dr. Shapiro, an emergency medicine physician at Cincinnati Children’s. The perpetrators were not specifically asked about the other 26 percent of victim allegations….

Recantation in Child Sexual Abuse Cases – Rieser, Margaret    – Child Welfare, v70 n6 p611-22 Nov-Dec 1991 – ERIC #: EJ436461 – Abstract: A brief narrative description of the journal article, document, or resource. Reviews the literature on children’s retraction of their disclosure of having been sexually abused. The evidence indicates that very few lied originally. The circumstances that underlie recantation, including false allegations, secrecy, denial, lack of support, pressure to recant, societal attitudes, and intervening events, are discussed, and suggestions for mitigating them are offered.