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Mothers Who Fail to Protect Their Children from Sexual Abuse: Addressing the Problem of Denial

Fiche mise à jour le 30 mars 2023

En bref

Auteurs : Christine Adams
Numéros : vol. 12, nº 2
Date de publication : 1994
Etendue : pp. 519-539


Extrait de l'introduction :

This Note will explore how the law treats and should treat mothers who allow their children to be sexually abused by the mothers’ partners. Specifically, this Note considers two questions. First, should the state impose criminal liability upon mothers who do not intervene to stop the sexual abuse of their children the mothers are in a state of denial about the abuse? And se should not impose criminal liability, how should it deal with th denial »? […]

In Part I, I discuss the psychological phenomenon of denial and how it prevents mothers from intervening to protect their children from intrafamily sexual abuse.

In Part II, I examine an emerging trend in courts and legislatures to impose criminal liability upon parents who condone child abuse by their partners. I analyze how these statutory and common law regimes apply to mothers in denial.

In Part III, I suggest how the law should deal with mothers in denial. I argue that mothers who are genuinely in denial about the abuse of their children should not be criminally prosecuted in all instances. Rather, they should be offered the choice of participating in psychiatric treatment programs in lieu of prosecution. This approach, I argue, is the most beneficial for the child and the mother.

Sommaire :

Mothers in Denial

  • Causes and Manifestations of Denial in Mothers
  • The Effects of a Mother’s Denial on the Victim

Legal Trends Toward Holding Condoning Parents Criminally Liable

  • Common Law Approaches
  1. A Parent’s Duty to Protect His or Her Child
  2. The Reasonable Person Standard
  • Statutory Approaches
  1. Liberal Statutory Interpretat
  2. Broad Interpretation of Proximate Cause
  3. Child Abuse as a General Intent Crime

Extending the Criminal Liability of Condoning Parents to Mothers in Denial

  • Arguments in Favor of Deferred Pr
  • Specific Salutary Effects of Treatment on Mothers in Denial
  • The Benefits of Mandatory Treatment
  • Designing Treatment Programs for Mothers in Denial

Mots clés SantéPsy :

Agression sexuelle intrafamiliale, Inceste, Victime mineure, Mère, Déni, Responsabilité pénale


Langue : anglais
Numéro de fiche : 954
Type de fiche : Article de périodique
Création : 14/10/2022
Dernière modification : 30/03/2023
Statut : Publié