Crying out for Change: A Call for a New Child Abuse Hearsay Exception in New York State

By Fell, Christopher T. | Albany Law Review, Spring 2013 | Go to article overview

Crying out for Change: A Call for a New Child Abuse Hearsay Exception in New York State


Fell, Christopher T., Albany Law Review


I. INTRODUCTION

According to a 2000 report by the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, nearly seventy percent of all sexual assaults in the country are committed against children. (1) In 1990, a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services task force declared child sex abuse a national emergency. (2) While the age with the greatest proportion of assaults reported was fourteen, more than half of all child victims were under twelve. (3) Of those children under age twelve, four-year-olds were at the greatest risk. (4) According to UNICEF, "5 [to] 10 percent of girls and up to 5 percent of boys [in industrialized nations] suffer penetrative sexual abuse." (5) Up to three times that amount experience some other type of sexual abuse. (6)

In 2007, Child Protective Services (CPS) in the United States investigated 3.2 million cases of suspected child maltreatment. (7) There were 164,831 maltreatment cases reported to New York State Child Protective Services in 2009. (8) 51,348 of those cases were indicated, (9) which means that there was enough evidence to continue the investigation because an investigator believed that the allegations were not unfounded. (10)

Victims of child abuse (11) often do not disclose immediately after the abuse has taken place. (12) Sometimes, victims of abuse keep the events to themselves for many years. (13) For example, in a 1992 report, the National Victim Center & Crime Victims Research and Treatment Center found that only sixteen percent of sexual assault victims ever report the assault to the authorities, or fail to provide a full report. (14) Frequently, the child victim is unaware of the wrongful nature of the conduct or that what has occurred is not "normal." (15) The victim also often experiences feelings of confusion (16) and guilt, a desire to forget the incident, a fear of not being believed, and in many instances, may remain silent as a result of intimidation by the abuser. (17) If victims do eventually disclose the abuse, the disclosure is central to the prosecution's case: "Abusers may leave no physical marks on their victims, and children often do not resist outwardly or physically. Accordingly, there is usually little physical evidence to corroborate the child's allegations, and the child-victim is often the only witness [to the crime]." (18) So if a child discloses the abuse, testimony about what the victim said, to whom it was said, when it was said, and how the victim appeared while saying it, are important for establishing a strong case. (19) However, testimony about the disclosure is generally regarded as hearsay, and hearsay is typically inadmissible unless it fits within a hearsay exception. (20)

Children are unlike any other witnesses or victims. (21) A delayed disclosure and the reason for the delay are part of the story describing an incident of child abuse; each case needs to be told in completion in order for the jury to get a full and fair picture at trial. (22) Victims are often the only witnesses to the crime. (23) Although New York State has a prompt outcry exception to the hearsay rule, which allows the "fact of a complaint" to be admitted into evidence, (24) the exception is insufficient to adequately protect child victims and effectively prosecute perpetrators of child abuse. In order for a child's entire story to be told, this exception must be broadened to include delayed disclosures, as well as the contents of the disclosure statement.

This article proposes a change to the New York State law concerning outcries of abused children. Part II discusses current New York State law about disclosures made by child victims of sexual abuse. Part III discusses child abuse disclosure law in other United States jurisdictions and how it can inform advances in New York State law. Finally, Part IV proposes a new law for New York State that is consistent with the jurisprudential trend in the United States and will more adequately protect child victims from prejudicial exclusion of evidence in sex abuse trials. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Crying out for Change: A Call for a New Child Abuse Hearsay Exception in New York State
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.