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Effect of Drawing on Children's Experiences of Investigations Following Alleged Child Abuse

NCJ Number
Child Abuse and Neglect Volume: 38 Issue: 5 Dated: May 2014 Pages: 858-867
Carmit Katz; Zion Barnetz; Irit Hershkowitz
Date Published
May 2014
10 pages
This assessment of investigative interviews of children following allegations of their sexual abuse compares interviews with children who engaged in drawing in the course of the interview and those who did not.
For the drawing group, at a certain point in the interview the interviewer gave the children a blank sheet of paper, a pencil, and a rubber eraser, and then asked them to draw what happened to them. The study found that children in both the drawing and no-drawing groups displayed more positive experiences in the interview than negative emotions; however, children in the drawing condition provided more words that indicated positive experiences during the interview compared with children in the comparison group. This finding was evident regardless of any other variable in the study. From the children's comments, drawing gave them control and strengthened them during the interview process. Interviews with both groups were conducted according to the protocol of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) until the interviewers had probed the children's memory of the alleged abuse using open-ended questions. The interviewer then opened an envelope that revealed to which condition (drawing or no-drawing) the child had been randomly assigned. For the drawing group, the interviewer asked no questions during the drawing period and generally listened to the child, repeating the child's words. For the no-drawing group, the children took a break for 7-10 minutes, during which they could choose to play or rest. The break was designed to equal the drawing time allowed children in the drawing group. A total of 125 children (31 boys and 94 girls) ages 4-14 were involved in the study. All of the children were alleged victims of sexual abuse. Interviews were conducted in Israel between November 2005 and July 2007. 3 tables and 51 references