chapter  7
7 Pages

“Nobody’s Perfect”—Partial Disagreement with Herman, Faust, Bridges, and Ahern

Determining whether a child was sexually abused is a tremendous clinical and legal challenge. The U.S. Supreme Court noted this difficulty in Pennsylvania v. Ritchie (1987) in which the Court wrote, “Child abuse is one of the most difficult crimes to detect and prosecute, in large part because there often are no witnesses except the victim” (p. 60). In a similar vein, the New York Court of Appeals wrote in In re Nicole V. (1987), “Abuse is difficult to detect because the acts are predominantly nonviolent and usually occur in secret rendering the child the only witness” (p. 915).