chapter  5
Factors affecting the reliability of children’s forensic reports
ByKAMALA LONDON, SARAH KULKOFSKY
Pages 23

Child maltreatment is a major societal problem. In the United States, over four million cases of child maltreatment are investigated each year (Pipe, Lamb, Orbach, & Cederborg, 2007a). Propelled by a rash of high-profile infamous childcare and satanic ritualistic abuse cases from the 1980s and 1990s, a corpus of research has emerged to outline the interview contexts that help and hinder children’s reports of past events. In this chapter, we review contemporary research findings on factors affecting the reliability of children’s forensic reports. In the first half of the chapter, we review the literature on autobiographical memory and suggestibility. In the second half of the chapter, we review contemporary research findings regarding whether and how sexually abused children tend to tell others about the abuse.