- » Child Sexual Abuse: Intervention and Treatment Issues
- » Child Sexual Abuse: Intervention and Treatment Issues: Preface
The Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act was signed into law in 1974. Since that time, the Federal Government has served as a catalyst to mobilize society's social service, mental health, medical, educational, legal, and law enforcement resources to address the challenges in the prevention and treatment of child abuse and neglect. In 1977, in one of its early efforts to achieve this goal, the National Center on Child Abuse and Neglect (NCCAN) developed 21 manuals (the User Manual Series) to provide guidance to professionals involved in the child protection system and to enhance community collaboration and the quality of services provided to children and families. Some manuals described professional roles and responsibilities in the prevention, identification, and treatment of child maltreatment. Other manuals in the series addressed special topics, for example, adolescent abuse and neglect.
Our understanding of the complex problems of child abuse and neglect has increased dramatically since the user manuals were first developed. This increased knowledge has improved our ability to intervene effectively in the lives of troubled families. Likewise, we have a better grasp of what we can do to prevent child abuse and neglect from occurring. Further, our knowledge of the unique roles key professionals can play in child protection has been more clearly defined, and a great deal has been learned about how to enhance coordination and collaboration of community agencies and professionals. Finally, we are facing today new and more serious problems in families who maltreat their children. For example, there is a significant percentage of families known to Child Protective Services (CPS) who are experiencing substance abuse problems; the first reference to drug-exposed infants appeared in the literature in 1985.
Because our knowledge base has increased significantly and the state of the art of practice has improved considerably, NCCAN has updated the User Manual Series by revising many of the existing manuals and creating new manuals that address current innovations, concerns, and issues in the prevention and treatment of child maltreatment.
This manual is intended to address the needs of professionals who encounter child sexual abuse in the course of their work. It describes professional practices in sexual abuse and discusses "how to" address the problems of sexually abused children and their families. It is not designed for laypersons, and it makes an assumption that the reader has basic information about sexual abuse.
Professionals from a range of disciplines and with varying levels and types of training confront child sexual abuse in their work. This manual is designed to be useful to all of them. It should meet the needs of child protection workers, the front line staff mandated to investigate reports of child maltreatment. Legal professionals, including judges, guardians ad litem, prosecutors, family lawyers, and law enforcement personnel, should find the manual informative. It should be valuable to mental health personnel: social workers, psychologists, and psychiatrists, who have responsibilities for reporting, diagnosing, and treating child sexual abuse. Educators and health care professionals, including the full range of physicians likely to be asked to examine sexually abused children; nurses; and other medical specialists will also benefit from the material in the manual.
The manual cannot substitute for the discipline-specific training of the professions. Moreover, the manual does not cover all aspects of child sexual abuse in depth. Issues regarding substantiation and case management are explored in greater depth than treatment techniques and research. In addition, specialized legal and medical information regarding sexual abuse is not covered in this manual.
This material may be freely reproduced and distributed. However, when doing so, please credit Child Welfare Information Gateway.