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Need for expansion of forensic psychiatrists' role in sexual harassment cases.

Authors
  • Feldman-Schorrig, S
Type
Published Article
Journal
The Bulletin of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law
Publication Date
Jan 01, 1995
Volume
23
Issue
4
Pages
513–522
Identifiers
PMID: 8639979
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

Apparently intimidated by the current climate of political correctness, forensic psychiatrists in sexual harassment cases often limit themselves to a determination of damages. Yet they are in a unique position to help in the resolution of more complex issues: they need not merely accept plaintiffs' allegations at face value, as treating psychiatrists generally do, but can assess credibility and identify psychodynamics that could be crucial in the clarification of legal questions such as "welcomeness." This article discusses the significance of pertinent data, such as a history of childhood sexual abuse, but emphasizes that such information does not necessarily invalidate the plaintiffs allegations. It also reviews the obstacles that can stand in the way of a complete psychiatric examination and thereby limit the forensic psychiatrist's ability to help the courts. Increased involvement by forensic psychiatrists could contribute to a more impartial evaluation of sexual harassment cases and help establish the distinction between valid claims and frivolous ones.

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