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Police Interviews with Child Sexual Abuse Victims: Patterns of Reporting, Avoidance and Denial

NCJ Number
Child Abuse and Neglect Volume: 34 Issue: 3 Dated: March 2010 Pages: 192-205
Lina Leander
Date Published
March 2010
14 pages
This study examined police interviews with a sample of sexually abused children regarding the patterns of their testimonies.
Results of the study revealed that children reported significantly more neutral information from the abusive acts than sexual information. In addition, the children were highly avoidant and, on several occasions, denied that (documented) sexual acts had occurred. The second and third interviews generated twice as many (new) sexual details as the first interview. The children also produced more denials and avoidances at the first interview compared to the subsequent interviews. In alleged child sexual abuse (CSA) cases the testimony of the child is often the only evidence at hand, and children's testimonies are often evaluated regarding their reliability. In this study, 27 sexually abused children's reports about abuse given in the context of police interviews were investigated. The study focused on the amount and type of information, and potential differences in reporting patterns across interview occasions. Children's reports were also analyzed and discussed with regard to factors such as type of abuse, frequency of abuse, relation to the perpetrator and the child's age. Tables, references, and appendix