IPT Book Reviews


Spectrum of Child Abuse: Assessment, Treatment, and Prevention  Negative Review Negative Review

Author: R. Kim Oates
Publisher: Brunner/Mazel Publishers, 1996

Brunner/Mazel Publishers
19 Union Square West
New York, NY 10003
(212) 924-3344
$22.95 (p)

In this 191-page book, Kim Oates, a professor of Pediatrics at the University of Sydney, Australia, attempts to provide an overview of the problem of child abuse based on current knowledge. The four different types of abuse-physical, sexual, emotional, and neglect-are first discussed in terms of definitions, historical background, and incidence. The next chapter addresses the question of why child abuse occurs. There are chapters on the different types of abuse, on the long-term consequences of abuse, and on prevention. The book ends with a list of resources, a bibliography, and subject and author indexes.

It is not clear as to the type of reader to which this book is addressed, and several critical issues are poorly covered, such as unsubstantiated cases, parental rights, legal issues, normal sexual behavior in children, and the delayed memory controversy. The references are dated and highly selective. For example, although there is a section on assessment for possible sexual abuse, including interviewing the child, there are no references to the work by Steve Ceci and his colleagues. Oates uncritically accepts many claims about sexual abuse that have been sharply challenged in recent years. He seems to believe that satanic ritual abuse claims are often true and he assumes that the alleged sexual abuse in high-profile day care cases actually happened.

This book adds little to our knowledge and understanding about child abuse and is not recommended.

Reviewed by LeRoy G. Schultz, Emeritus Professor of Social Work, West Virginia University.

Order this book: Paperback

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