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September 8, 1978

Physician Reporting of Sexual Abuse of Children

Author Affiliations

University of Washington School of Medicine Seattle
From the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle.

JAMA. 1978;240(11):1145-1146. doi:10.1001/jama.1978.03290110043016

SEXUAL abuse of children is a growing concern nationally. Whereas incest, rape, and molestation of children were considered almost nonexistent a decade ago, current public alarm has resulted in communities throughout the country developing hot lines, treatment programs, and educational programs for victims and their families. In response to the existence of these services and improved laws, numerous sexual abuse cases are beginning to surface. Sgroi1 states that the number of reported cases in Connecticut doubled between 1973 and 1974 to a total of 172. Similarly, in Santa Clara, Calif, the number of treatment cases has grown from 36 in 1971 to 180 in 1974.2 From 1974 to 1976, the number of child sexual abuse cases seen annually at the Sexual Assault Center in Seattle has almost doubled and has increased in proportion from 41% to 53% of their total clientele.

The reports from the two treatment units