Patterns of recall of childhood sexual abuse as described by adult survivors.
R. L. Binder, D. E. McNiel and R. L. Goldstone,
Bull. Amer. Acad. Psychiatry & the Law
22(3): 357-66, 1994.
Issues concerning the phenomenon of delayed recall of childhood trauma have arisen in forensic
settings. For example, the courts have had to address the issue of delayed recall because of
legislation extending the statute of limitations for bringing lawsuits related to childhood sexual
abuse. Many states now allow victims to bring suit for up to three years after their memory returns.
This paper describes patterns of recall of childhood sexual abuse as recounted by 30 adult women
survivors in a nonforensic setting. Eleven of the women described remembering their childhood
sexual abuse after a period of amnesia. Examples are given of the types of circumstances that were
associated with the delayed recall of the abuse. Implications for assessment in clinical and forensic
settings are discussed.