After a 15-year increase, substantiated child sexual abuse cases in the United States dropped 31 percent from 1992 to 1998, according to a new report from the Justice Departments's Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP). Most states -- 36 out of the 47 reporting -- showed declines of at least 30 percent.

The drop in child sexual abuse cases was much greater than the decline in physical abuse or neglect cases over the same period. The bulletin, The Decline in Child Sexual Abuse Cases, offers possible explanations. One possibility is an actual fall in the incidence of child sexual abuse. Another possibility is that issues unrelated to actual occurrence of child sexual abuse are affecting the way child sexual abuse is reported. For example, the public and professionals could be better able to distinguish between child sexual abuse and other problems.

The Decline in Child Sexual Abuse Cases and information about OJJDP publications, programs and conferences are available through the OJJDP Website at www.ojjdp.ncjrs.org.

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