The Journal of Child Sexual Abuse recently published a study on how jurors think a child sexual assault victim “should” respond

Teresa Huizar, NCA’s ED, provided this summary: Jurors’ Perceptions of Victim Resistance and Credibility (

“What does this study mean for us, and for our multidisciplinary team partners? The researchers believe that the “lack of difference found between mock juror perceptions of attempted versus complete child sexual assault cases may be evidence that jurors take both types of cases seriously. This finding can help to dispel fears surrounding bringing attempted child sexual assault cases to trial, which could in turn lead to an increase in the prosecution of attempted child sexual assault cases.”  Before we get there, however, there seems to be a fundamental gap in community awareness and education—particularly for real prospective jurors in such cases—that we can help fill. We can continue in the work we are already engaged in—dispelling myths surrounding child sexual abuse, child rape, and how victims “should”—and do—respond. And we can continue to provide education in court, as trials progress, whether in voir dire or in testimony.
Finally, we can use this information to inform treatment, as we assist victims in becoming survivors and thrivers. As the researchers themselves note, “[c]linicians may help child victims working through sexual victimization experiences who may be questioned about their resistance in court understand this rape myth and discuss how rape myths are harmful and can impact future help-seeking behaviors.”  For all these reasons and more, I encourage you to share this article with your team members and colleagues—especially prosecutors–and use it as an opportunity to discuss how we can help educate our communities and ensure hope and healing for the children and families we serve.”

Click the link above to see NCA’s full summary.  

Full text of this publication may be found in the National Children’s Advocacy Center’s Child Abuse Library Online (CALiO™) or by contacting the NCAC Research Digital Information Librarian. (ALL OF NJ’S CACs ARE NCA MEMBERS AND ARE ELIGIBLE TO USE THIS RESOURCE.  CONTACT US IF YOU NEED HELP!)