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Professionals' Standards of "Normal" Behavior With Anatomical Dolls and Factors That Influence These Standards

NCJ Number
K A Kendall-Tackett
Date Published
14 pages
Over 200 professionals who work with child sexual abuse victims were asked to rate, as normal or abnormal, various behaviors exhibited by nonabused children between the ages of two and six toward anatomically correct dolls.
Almost all subjects agreed that overtly sexual behaviors were abnormal for nonabused children. However, more ambiguous behaviors, such as touching the doll's genitals, were rated differently by the participants. Law enforcement professionals, women, and those with less years of experience were more likely to define these behaviors as abnormal. The findings suggest that professional training in the use of anatomically correct dolls needs to concentrate more on the interpretation of behaviors in addition to instruction on presenting the dolls in an unbiased manner. Furthermore, a comprehensive standard of normal behavior should be established after appropriate research is conducted. 2 tables and 8 references (Author abstract modified)