The Public Interest

Unfounded allegations—a new child abuse problem

Douglas J. Besharov

Spring 1986

FOR TWENTY YEARS, child advocates have struggled to get child abuse recognized as a serious social problem requiring a sustained governmental response. As current media attention attests, they have succeeded beyond their wildest dreams. A recent Harris poll concluded that the “American public is no longer unaware of child abuse and its consequences. The feeling that child abuse constitutes a major and growing problem is widespread, as is the mandate for government and individual action. Americans want something done to prevent child abuse ....”

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