18 S. Cal. Interdisc. L.J. 651 (2008-2009)
Unwarranted Skepticism: The Federal Courts' Treatment of Child Sexual Abuse Accommodations Syndrome

handle is hein.journals/scid18 and id is 657 raw text is: NOTES
UNWARRANTED SKEPTICISM: THE
FEDERAL COURTS' TREATMENT OF
CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE
ACCOMMODATION SYNDROME
MARGARET H. SHIU*
I. INTRODUCTION
Child sexual abuse (CSA) is a prevalent problem in our society, with
estimates indicating as many as 500,000 new incidents in the United States
each year.' Although some statistics signal a relative decrease in
substantiated   CSA    cases between      1990   and   2004,2 the    figures are
nonetheless alarming. In 2005 alone, over 300,000 children were reported
to U.S. state and local child protection services as victims of sexual abuse.3
Further, one studl, reported that more than 8% of U.S. children are victims
of sexual abuse. While CSA happens to children of both sexes and all
ages, from   infants to adolescents, more than one-half of the defendants
sentenced in 2006 for CSA        abused a victim     under the age of twelve.6
Furthermore, between 25% and 35% of all sexual abuse victims involve
children under the age of 7 .7 The bottom          line is that CSA remains a
serious problem.
* J.D., University of Southern California, 2009; B.A., Amherst College, 2006. I would like to thank
Professor Thomas D. Lyon for his invaluable advice, guidance, and patience throughout the writing
?rocess. I would also like to thank my friends and family for their unwavering love and support.
See David Finkelhor, Current Information on the Scope and Nature of Child Sexual Abuse, 4 FUTURE
OF CHILDREN 31,34 (1994).
2 See David Finkelhor & Lisa Jones, Why Have Child Maltreatment and Child Victimization Declined?,
62 J. SOC. ISSUES 685, 685 (2006).
3 See U.S. DEP'T OF HEALTH & HUMAN SERVS., ADMIN. ON CHILDREN, YOUTH & FAMILIES, CHILD
MALTREATMENT 2005 (2007), available at http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/pubs/cm05/cmO5.pdf.
4 David Finkelhor, Richard Ormrod, Heather Turner & Sherry L. Hamby, The Victimization of Children
and Youth: A Comprehensive, National Survey, 10 CHILD MALTREATMENT 5, 10 (2005).
See, e.g., Lucy Berliner & Diana M. Elliott, Sexual Abuse of Children, in THE APSAC HANDBOOK ON
CHILD MALTREATMENT 55, 56 (John E. B. Myers, Lucy Berliner, John Briere, C. Terry Hendrix, Carole
Jenny, & Theresa A. Reid eds., Sage Publ'ns 2d ed. 2002).
6 MARK MOTIVANS & TRACEY KYCKELHAHN, BUREAU OF JUSTICE STATISTICS SPECIAL REPORT: 2006
FEDERAL PROSECUTION OF CHILD SEX EXPLOITATION OFFENDERS 6 (2007),
http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/pub/pdf/fpcseo06.pdf.
7 Sonja N. Brilleslijper-Kater, William N. Friedrich & David L. Corwin, Sexual Knowledge and
Emotional Reaction as Indicators of Sexual Abuse in Young Children: Theory and Research Challenges,
28 CHILD ABUSE & NEGLECT 1007, 1007 (2004).

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