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Outcome-Based Practice: Disclosure Rates of Child Sexual Abuse Comparing Allegation Blind and Allegation Informed Structured Interviews

NCJ Number
Child Abuse and Neglect Volume: 20 Issue: 11 Dated: (November 1996) Pages: 1113-1120
J Cantlon; G Payne; C Erbaugh
Date Published
8 pages
Two methods of interviewing children believed to be victims of child sexual abuse were compared to determine whether the interview method would significantly affect the rates of disclosure by the children.
The way in which children are interviewed can make the difference between prosecution, protection, or continued abuse. An interview style that is acceptable in the legal system without compromising disclosure rates is needed. This research was conducted in an Idaho outpatient hospital-affiliated child sexual abuse assessment unit where children are evaluated via a videotaped interview, an audiotaped colposcopic examination, or both. The analysis compared the disclosure rate of alleged child sexual abuse victims interviewed in a formal forensic setting with a structured, allegation-informed technique versus a structured, allegation-blind technique. The only difference between the techniques was that the interviewer in the allegation-blind technique did not know the allegation. The 1,535 interviews included 1,330 that were conducted allegation-blind, 196 that were conducted allegation-informed, and 9 for which the interview type was unknown. Results revealed that the allegation-blind technique produced a statistically higher disclosure rate. Figures and 9 references (Author abstract modified)