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.