The Continuum of Children's Sexual Behavior: Discriminative Categories and the Need for Public Policy Change

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One of the most important findings from the past several decades of research addressing the effects of child sexual abuse (CSA) is that no single sign or symptom, including aberrant sexualized behavior, characterizes the majority of sexually abused children. The array of symptoms demonstrated by a child will depend on the complex interaction of internal and external factors. This chapter begins with an overview of normative sexual behavior. The second section addresses the attempts to differentiate types of children with sexual behavior problems (SBPs), and the final section addresses societal and legal responses to children's sexual behavior problems.

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The continuum of children's sexual behavior: Discriminative categories and the need for public policy change. In K. Kuehnle & M. Connell (Eds.), The evaluation of child sexual abuse allegations: A comprehensive guide to assessment and testimony p. 129-150