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Wrongful Allegations of Sexual and Child Abuse – Important New Book



Home » Wrongful Allegations of Sexual and Child Abuse – Important New Book

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

This new book, Wrongful Allegations of Sexual and Child Abuse, is edited by Dr Ros Burnett (Centre for Criminology, University of Oxford). It contains 21 chapters by criminologists, psychologists, legal scholars and other experts, discussing policies and practices that impact on people who are falsely accused of sexual and physical offences against adults and children. Its scope covers civil cases that do not result in criminal prosecution as well as criminal justice processes that can lead to wrongful convictions and imprisonment.

While there has been a welcome increase in policies which address child abuse, rape and other sexual offences, these tend to neglect or disavow the diametrical problem of false allegations of such offences. It is inherent in the, typically, unwitnessed and physically uncorroborated nature of these ‘hidden’ crimes that they are difficult to prosecute; but also to disprove if no crime has been committed.

Tackling an under-researched and under-discussed area, Wrongful Allegations of Sexual and Child Abuse offers thoughtful and thought-provoking discourses around an understandably difficult and sensitive area. It will be essential reading for academics and students of criminology, sociology, criminal justice, criminal law, socio-legal studies, and psychology, as well as those working with victims of false allegations, and police and specialist practitioners dealing with sexual offences and child abuse.

Cover of Wrongful Allegations of Sexual and Child Abuse edited by Ros Burnett

HARDBACK | 336 PAGES | 9780198723301 September 2016 | £75.00 £60.00
If purchased from Oxford University Press, a 20% discount is available, details here

Professor Tim Bakken, Professor of Law, U.S. Military Academy, West Point, USA.
Dr Robert F. Belli, Dept. of Psychology, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, USA.
Professor John Brigham, Political Science, University of Massachusetts-Amherst, USA.
Dr Ros Burnett, Centre for Criminology, University of Oxford, UK.
Professor Deborah Davis, Dept. of Psychology, University of Nevada, USA.
Professor Christopher C. French, Psychology Department, Goldsmiths, University of London, UK.
Professor Frank Furedi, Emeritus Professor of Sociology, University of Kent, Canterbury, UK.
Luke Gittos, Hughmans Solicitors and Legal Editor for Spiked.
Professor Felicity Goodyear-Smith, Faculty of Medical and Health Science, University of Auckland, New Zealand.
Dr Bill Hebenton, School of Law, University of Manchester, UK.
Professor Steve Herman, Dept of Psychology, University of Hawaii at Hilo, USA.
Barbara Hewson, Barrister, Gray’s Inn, London, UK
Professor Richard A. Leo, School of Law, University of San Francisco, USA.
Professor Daniel S. Medwed, School of Law, Northeastern University, Boston, USA.
Dr Galit Nahari, Department of Criminology, Bar Ilan University, Israel.
Dr James Ost, Department of Psychology, Portsmouth University, UK.
David Rose, Author/Prize-winning Investigative Journalist.
Professor Toby Seddon, School of Law, University of Manchester, UK.
Dr Mark Smith, Senior Lecturer in Social Work, University of Edinburgh, UK.
J. Guillermo Villalobos, University of Nevada, USA.
Professor Mary deYoung, Sociology, Grand Valley State University, Michigan, USA.
Professor Michael Zander QC, Emeritus Professor, London School of Economics, UK.


PART I: THE REALITY OF WRONGFUL ALLEGATIONS OF ABUSE What kind of allegations and why do they matter? 1: Wrongful Allegations of Sexual and Child Abuse: A Neglected and Growing Category of Injustice, Ros Burnett 2: Experiencing False Allegations of Abuse: First-hand Accounts, Edited by Ros Burnett

PART II: CULTURE, IDEOLOGY, POLITICS What is the terrain that gives rise to false allegations? 3: Demons, Devils and Ritual Abuse: Interdisciplinary Perspectives, Mary deYoung 4: Moral Crusades, Child Protection, Celebrities and the Duty to Believe, Frank Furedi 5: Telling Stories? Adults’ Retrospective Narratives of Abuse in Residential Child Care,Mark Smith 6: ‘Rape Culture’ Narrative, State Feminism and the Presumption of Guilt, John Brigham 7: Making Accusations: Precautionary Logic and Embedded Suspicion in an Insecure and Uncertain World, Bill Hebenton and Toby Seddon

PART III: THE ALLEGATION: CAUSES, MOTIVATIONS, CASE-STUDIES Why would anyone make a false accusation? 8: Why and How False Allegations of Abuse Occur: An Overview, Felicity Goodyear-Smith 9: The Compensations of Being a Victim, Barbara Hewson 10: His Story, Her Story: Sexual Miscommunication, Motivated Remembering, and Intoxication as Pathways to Honest False Testimony Regarding Sexual Consent, J. Guillermo Villalobos, Deborah Davis and Richard A. Leo 11: Beliefs about Memory, Childhood Abuse and Hypnosis Amongst Clinicians, Legal Professionals and the General Public, Christopher C French and James Ost 12: To Catch a Sex Offender: Police, Trawls and Personal Injury Solicitors, David Rose

PART IV: INTERROGATION, PROSECUTION, CONVICTION, APPEAL How could the justice system get it so wrong? 13: When Exoneration Seems Hopeless: The Special Vulnerability of Sexual Abuse Suspects to False Confession, Deborah Davis and Richard A. Leo 14: Complaints of Sexual Abuse and the Decline of Objective Prosecuting, Luke Gittos 15: ‘In denial’: the Hazards of Maintaining Innocence After Conviction, Daniel Medwed 16: When Juries Find Innocent People Guilty: Strengths and Limitations of the Appellate System in England and Wales, Michael Zander

PART V: FINDING WAYS FORWARD What’s to be done? 17: Reducing Harm Due to False Allegations of Child Sexual Abuse: The Importance of Corroboration, Steve Herman 18: Advances in Lie Detection: Limitations and Potential for Investigating Allegations of Abuse, Galit Nahari 19: Toward Reconciliation of the True and False Recovered Memory Debate, Robert F. Belli 20: The Defendant’s Plea of Innocent in Sexual Abuse Cases, Timothy Bakken 21: Reducing the Incidence and Harms of Wrongful Allegations of Abuse, Ros Burnett

Dr Ros Burnett is a Senior Research Associate, formerly Reader in Criminology, at the Centre for Criminology, University of Oxford, which she joined in 1990 after gaining a DPhil in social psychology at the Department of Experimental Psychology, Oxford. Prior to moving into academia, she was a probation officer and a relationship counsellor. Her research areas have been: interpersonal relationships; rehabilitation of offenders and desistance from crime; and wrongful allegations of sexual and child abuse. She has assisted FACT on a voluntary basis as a research adviser and by helping to convene some past conferences. www.law.ox.ac.uk/people/ros-burnett