Since the McMartin Preschool case in Manhattan Beach, California, many communities around the country have also been rocked by cases of sexual abuse of very young children in day care. While child welfare workers, prosecutors, and counselors have deliberated about how to respond to such cases, parents, day care staff, and state regulators have wondered whether day care was still a safe place for children.
Now a new book addresses this disturbing problem, based on the first nationwide study of 270 cases of sexual abuse in day care. How could children be abused without their parents suspecting? How could trusted day care employees conceal abuse? Can offenders be screened from the ranks of day care employees? Can abusers be brought to justice without further trauma to the children? The authors, well known researchers in the field of child abuse, explore these questions and many others using a wealth of case material and careful analyses. Chapters cover incidence and dynamics, the impact on victims, disclosure and detection, the perpetrators, and the impact on local communities. Over 16 recommendations are forwarded for the prevention, detection, and investigation of these cases.
Practitioners, researchers, policymakers, and students will benefit from the information provided in this long-awaited study.
"I urge everyone who is concerned about the well being of children, both in day care and out, to obtain a copy of this [book], read it, and to use it. Its recommendations for parents, child care providers, policy makers, and government are both well-based on the researchers' findings and well-reasoned as practical, feasible responses."
--John Chafee, United States Senator
"Students and professionals researching the topic of sexual abuse of preschool-age children will welcome this well-documented study, which discusses the types of people who perpetrate such crimes and the characteristics of the victims (including risk factors). Case studies--with synopses of the abuse incidents--are presented in the search for answers to why these crimes happen, how they can be prevented, and what impact they have on the victims. Final chapters present the authors' recommendations as to how child abuse can be prevented. An excellent piece of research and analysis for larger public libraries."
"Written by our nation's premier workers in the field of sexual abuse, Nursery Crimes: Sexual Abuse in Day Care is an enlightening and thought-provoking book. . . a scholarly endeavor that culminates with pragmatic and concrete policy recommendations. This book is must reading for all researchers and policy makers interested in this important and timely topic."
--Edward Zigler, Yale University
"This is an incredibly important source book on the subject."
--Journal of the Institute of Health Education
"This volume examines the incidence of the problem, describes the perpetrators of this abuse, evaluates screening strategies for limiting their access to children, and describes the victims, abuse dynamics, and whether the characteristics of the facilities minimize the risk of child sexual abuse. The book also discusses the detection and disclosure process and the impact on children. . . . This book is an excellent resource for all professionals working in the child sexual abuse area, ranging from therapists to investigators to judicial personnel."
"This research project marks an important step toward understanding abuse in day care, and the book extends its usefulness to researchers, educators, administrators, and policymakers, as well as parents. . . . In the midst of widespread fear and confusion about sexual abuse in day care, Nursery Crimes provides practical strategies for confronting this problem."
--Criminal Justice Review