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Assessing the Relative Importance of the Child Sexual Abuse Interview Protocol Items to Assist Child Victims in Abuse Disclosure

NCJ Number
Journal of Family Violence Volume: 25 Issue: 1 Dated: January 2010 Pages: 11-22
Monit Cheung; Needha McNeil Boutte-Queen
Date Published
January 2010
12 pages
This study identifies (1) the importance of using the Child Sexual Abuse Interview Protocol for multiple disciplines to obtain detailed information of what the alleged child victims say and claim, and (2) the concurrence of multiple professionals about the relevance of items in the protocol in their practice.
A survey with 100 items based on the Child Sexual Abuse Interview Protocol was self administered by 36 professionals working at a child advocacy center including administrators, attorneys, child advocates, support persons, physicians, police, psychologists, and social workers. These respondents unanimously felt it was very important for interviewers to complete two specific items during the course of an investigative interview: "showing the interviewer is listening to the child" and "showing patience with the child." As indicated by the average rating scores, 89 items were perceived between very important and important, and 9 items as somewhat important. No item on this scale was rated as doesn't matter or unimportant. Social workers and police officers did not differ significantly in their ratings of the importance of these items. Both quantitative and qualitative results support four major considerations when using an interview guide: 1) flexibility in opening and closing the interview, 2) professional and appropriate use of the anatomical dolls, 3) assessment of the age and mental state of the child, and 4) determination of the order of questions based on severity of incidents. This study provides data to identify the importance of using a comprehensive interview protocol for multidisciplinary professionals who work with alleged victims of child sexual abuse. The use of these 100 items will enhance the effectiveness of conducting a one-time interview to avoid repeated interviews. This study that was originally aimed at comparing differences among professionals has, in fact, demonstrated the similarities across disciplines, as agreement among various professional groups was substantial. This finding dissolves the myth that multiple disciplines brought forth diverse opinions and instead encourages the "working together" concept of a team. Tables, appendix, and references (Published Abstract)