Prosecuting child sexual abuse: The importance of evidence type

Wendy A. Walsh, Lisa M. Jones, Theodore P. Cross, Tonya Lippert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Corroborating evidence has been associated with a decrease in children's distress during the court process, yet few studies have empirically examined the impact of evidence type on prosecution rates. This study examined the types of evidence and whether charges were filed in a sample of child sexual abuse cases (n = 329). Cases with a child disclosure, a corroborating witness, an offender confession, or an additional report against the offender were more likely to have charges filed, controlling for case characteristics. When cases were lacking strong evidence (confession, physical evidence, eyewitness), cases with a corroborating witness were nearly twice as likely to be charged. Charged cases tended to have at least two types of evidence, regardless of whether there was a child disclosure or not

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)436-454
Number of pages19
JournalCrime and Delinquency
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2010


  • Child sexual abuse
  • Criminal justice
  • Evidence
  • Prosecution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Law


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