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Journal Issue: Sexual Abuse of Children Volume 4 Number 2 Summer/Fall 1994

Current Information on the Scope and Nature of Child Sexual Abuse
David Finkelhor


The past 20 years have seen a revolution in public and professional knowledge about child sexual abuse. Most of the prevailing beliefs of a generation ago concerning its nature and prevalence have turned out, in the light of subsequent research, to be wrong or greatly oversimplified. But the knowledge is neither complete nor fully disseminated. In the context of such a rapid revolution, new myths or oversimplifications have undoubtedly been adopted in place of the old. The task of testing these assumptions, sorting through the evidence for the truth in this field, is an active, urgent, and ongoing process. Given the enormous stakes involved in terms of child protection, the inquiry must proceed with haste.