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Vol. 20, No. 2
April 2015

Child Sex Abuse Interviews in North Carolina

In August 2014 the NC Division of Social Services asked North Carolina’s county DSS child welfare professionals what they’d like to learn more about through publications and webinars. Child sexual abuse interviews was among their top choices.

It’s no surprise. Though they are less common than other CPS assessments, child sexual abuse interviews are complex and important enough to be a major concern for child welfare professionals and their agencies.

In response to their interest, this issue of Practice Notes gives child welfare professionals an overview of the child sexual abuse interview, shares insights and suggestions from experts, and offers links to training and other resources. Our goal is to help you be ready whenever the need to do a child sexual abuse interview arises.

Sexual Abuse in the U.S.

Incidence of sexual abuse has greatly decreased. Substantiated sexual abuse cases dropped 44% between 1992 and 2006. This is a “real decline,” as opposed to changes in reporting or data collection (Finklehor & Jones, 2004; Sedlak, et al., 2010). This decline is likely due in part to growing awareness that everyone is responsible to report abuse, and to prevention programs.

In 2013, 60,956 U.S. children were found to be victims of sexual abuse. This represents 9% of confirmed child maltreatment cases that year (USDHHS, 2015). Note: This is most likely an undercount, since most child sexual abuse never comes to the attention of state agencies.

Traits of Victims

  • Girls are most at risk. From 9-32% of women and 5-10% of men say they were victims of sexual abuse and/or assault during childhood (Sedlak, et al., 2010; Douglas & Finklehor, 2005).
  • All ages are at risk, but teens appear to be at highest risk (Douglas & Finklehor, 2005).
  • Minority children are more at risk than white children (Douglas & Finklehor, 2005; Sedlak, et al., 2010).
  • All income levels are affected, but the poorest families may be most at risk (Sedlak, et al., 2010).
  • Family dysfunction is a risk factor. Sex abuse is associated with family problems such as parental alcoholism, parental rejection, and marital conflict (Douglas & Finklehor, 2005).


Contents of this Issue

Click here to read or print the entire issue as a pdf file

Child Sex Abuse Interview Protocols: An Overview

CSA Interviews: Learning Resources

CSA Interviews in North Carolina: By the Numbers

How to Be Family-Centered While Responding to “Tough” Cases

Child Forensic Interviewing: A 30-Year Perspective
A reflection by Dr. Mark Everson

Providing a Trauma-Informed Response to Child Sexual Abuse

Partnering with Mental Health Clinicians in Sex Abuse Cases
A conversation with Ashley Fiore

References for this Issue

~ Family and Children's Resource Program ~