Factors Associated with Disclosure of Sexual Abuse of Children and Adolescent Victims

아동청소년 성폭력 피해자의 피해사실 폭로에 영향을 미치는 요인

  • Received : 2015.05.21
  • Accepted : 2015.06.27
  • Published : 2015.09.30


Objectives : The purpose of this study was to analyze the factors related to the disclosure patterns of sexual abuse in children and adolescent victims. Methods : A sample of 153 children and adolescents who visited the Sunflower children's Center (Incheon) between January 1, 2011 and December 31, 2012 were analyzed. The medical records of the victims were reviewed retrospectively. Results : Ninety (58.8%) subjects made a disclosure of sexual abuse voluntarily. The revelation was most commonly made to a parent. The severity and duration of sexual abuse were related to the disclosure patterns. In addition, the group that displayed below average intelligence, particularly subjects in the group with borderline intellectual functioning, tended to disclose their history of abuse less voluntarily than the subjects with normal intelligence. Conclusion : The current study provides insight into the factors that affect disclosure patterns in children and adolescent sexual abuse victims. To prevent sexual abuse, we suggest that special legal assistance and social concern be required for children and adolescents with borderline intellectual functioning.


Child Sexual Abuse;Borderline Intellectual Functioning;Disclosure


  1. Pereda N, Guilera G, Forns M, Gómez-Benito J. The international epidemiology of child sexual abuse: a continuation of Finkelhor(1994). Child Abuse Negl 2009;33:331-342.
  2. Korea Sexual Violence Relief Center. [cited 2015 January 29] Available from URL:
  3. Smith DW, Letourneau EJ, Saunders BE, Kilpatrick DG, Resnick HS, Best CL. Delay in disclosure of childhood rape: results from a national survey. Child Abuse Negl 2000;24:273-287.
  4. Sorensen T, Snow B. How children tell: the process of disclosure in child sexual abuse. Child Welfare 1991;70:3-15.
  5. Paine ML, Hansen DJ. Factors influencing children to self-disclose sexual abuse. Clin Psychol Rev 2002;22:271-295.
  6. Hébert M, Tourigny M, Cyr M, McDuff P, Joly J. Prevalence of childhood sexual abuse and timing of disclosure in a representative sample of adults from Quebec. Can J Psychiatry 2009;54:631-636.
  7. Hershkowitz I, Lanes O, Lamb ME. Exploring the disclosure of child sexual abuse with alleged victims and their parents. Child Abuse Negl 2007;31:111-123.
  8. Ministry of Gender Equality and Family. [cited 2015 January 29] Available from URL:
  9. Park SJ, Park JY. Medical and psychological assistance manuals for the sexual abuse women and children. Seoul: Support center for women and children victims of violence;2010. p.89-99.
  10. Hong KE, Kang BG, Kwack YS. A survey of intrafamilial child sexual abuse by physician’s reports. J Korean Acad Child Adol Psychiatr 1998;9:138-147.
  11. Baker AW, Duncan SP. Child sexual abuse: a study of prevalence in Great Britain. Child Abuse Negl 1985;9:457-467.
  12. Finkelhor D. Epidemiological factors in the clinical identification of child sexual abuse. Child Abuse Negl 1993;17:67-70.
  13. Lee SK, Kwack YS. A clinical study on child sexual abuse. J Korean Acad Child Adol Psychiatr 1994;5:184-193.
  14. Anderson J, Martin J, Mullen P, Romans S, Herbison P. Prevalence of childhood sexual abuse experiences in a community sample of women. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry 1993;32:911-919.
  15. Bagley C, Wood M, Young L. Victim to abuser: mental health and behavioral sequels of child sexual abuse in a community survey of young adult males. Child Abuse Negl 1994;18:683-697.
  16. Song SH, Kim SY, Chung YK, Shin YM. A study of sexual assaults on children and adolescents : based on data from a one-stop service center. J Korean Acad Child Adol Psychiatr 2008;19:162-167.
  17. Snyder HN. Sexual Assault of Young Children as Reported to Law Enforcement: Victim, Incident, and Offender Characteristics. A NIBRS Statistical Report. Washington DC: US Department of Justice;2000. p.6-10.
  18. Harkins L, Beech AR. A review of the factors that can influence the effectiveness of sexual offender treatment: risk, need, responsivity, and process issues. Aggress Violent Behav 2007;12:615-627.
  19. Lindsay WR, Law J, Quinn K, Smart N, Smith AH. A comparison of physical and sexual abuse: histories of sexual and non-sexual offenders with intellectual disability. Child Abuse Negl 2001; 25:989-995.
  20. Sauzier M. Disclosure of child sexual abuse. For better or for worse. Psychiatr Clin North Am 1989;12:455-469.
  21. Farrell LT. Factors that affect a victim’s self-disclosure in father-daughter incest. Child Welfare 1988;67:462-468.
  22. Goodman-Brown TB, Edelstein RS, Goodman GS, Jones DP, Gordon DS. Why children tell: a model of children’s disclosure of sexual abuse. Child Abuse Negl 2003;27:525-540.
  23. Stroud DD, Martens SL, Barker J. Criminal investigation of child sexual abuse: a comparison of cases referred to the prosecutor to those not referred. Child Abuse Negl 2000;24:689-700.
  24. Linden JA. Clinical practice. Care of the adult patient after sexual assault. N Engl J Med 2011;365:834-841.
  25. Ruggiero KJ, Smith DW, Hanson RF, Resnick HS, Saunders BE, Kilpatrick DG, et al. Is disclosure of childhood rape associated with mental health outcome? Results from the National Women’s Study. Child Maltreat 2004;9:62-77.
  26. DeVoe E, Faller K. The characteristics of disclosure among children who may have been sexually abused. Child Maltreat 1999; 3:217-227.
  27. Bryen DN, Carey A, Frantz B. Ending the silence: adults who use augmentative communication and their experiences as victims of crimes. Augment Altern Commun 2003;19:125-134.
  28. Manion IG, McIntyre J, Firestone P, Ligezinska M, Ensom R, Wells G. Secondary traumatization in parents following the disclosure of extrafamilial child sexual abuse: initial effects. Child Abuse Negl 1996;20:1095-1109.
  29. Korea Ministry of Goverment Legislation. [cited 2015 January 29] Available from URL: