December 2, 1998

Improving Research, Policy, and Practice to Understand Child Sexual Abuse

Author Affiliations

From the Family Research Laboratory, University of New Hampshire, Durham.

JAMA. 1998;280(21):1864-1865. doi:10.1001/jama.280.21.1864

In an important, unprecedented, and largely unnoticed development, there has been a dramatic decline nationally since 1992 in the cases of child sexual abuse being reported. This decline reverses a pattern of yearly increases that dates back to the late 1970s. Estimates for 1997 put the number of substantiated cases at 84,000 nationwide, down 40% from the early 1990s.1 As a result, sexual abuse, which formerly constituted 14% of all episodes of child maltreatment, now constitutes only 8%.

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