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Child Sexual Abuse, the Delayed Discovery Rule, and the Problem of Finding Justice for Adult-Survivors of Child Abuse

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dc.contributor.author Wilson, E. A.
dc.date.accessioned 2015-11-19T19:02:53Z
dc.date.available 2015-11-19T19:02:53Z
dc.date.issued 2001
dc.identifier.citation Wilson, E. A. (2001). Child Sexual Abuse, the Delayed Discovery Rule, and the Problem of Finding Justice for Adult-Survivors of Child Abuse. UCLA Women's Law Journal, 12(2),145-250. en_US
dc.identifier.uri http://escholarship.org/uc/item/00v1d9tm.pdf
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/11212/2653
dc.description.abstract This Article considers the statutes and judicial decisions that extend the use of the delayed discovery rule to adult survivors of child sexual abuse. Use of the rule in such cases has been criticized as opening the door to suits founded on the scientifically-controversial notion of repression, but increasingly the rule has been used in cases where the victim always remembered the abuse but did not connect it with her symptoms. Given this extension of the rule's use, this article explores the rationale for restricting it only to cases involving victims of sexual abuse. The article argues that while child sexual abuse is often regarded as "unique" and "different," and thereby warranting "exceptional" legal treatment, using the rule only in sexual abuse cases reinforces a cultural narrative linking child sexual abuse to a wide range of psychopathological symptoms while underestimating, if not totally ignoring, the malign consequences other forms of abuse and neglect have on children's development. This article examines the strengths and weakness of the justifications that have been implicitly and explicitly advanced for the "exceptionalism" surrounding child sexual abuse in use of the discovery rule and traces it to the social movement on behalf of adult survivors of child sexual abuse. Deeper roots lie in the broad cultural identification of childhood with sexual innocence and in the close connection that has historically been made between inappropriate sexual activity in childhood and physical and mental deviations in adulthood. Based on evidence indicating that other forms of child maltreatment may have detrimental consequences to children comparable to those arising from child sexual abuse, this Article proposes that the discovery rule would also be suitable for cases involving child physical abuse. (Author Abstract) en_US
dc.language.iso en_US en_US
dc.publisher UCLA Women's Law Journal en_US
dc.subject child abuse en_US
dc.subject sexual abuse en_US
dc.subject long term effects en_US
dc.subject law en_US
dc.subject policy en_US
dc.title Child Sexual Abuse, the Delayed Discovery Rule, and the Problem of Finding Justice for Adult-Survivors of Child Abuse en_US
dc.type Article en_US


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