chapter  2
26 Pages

Interviewing Children Versus Tossing Coins: Accurately Assessing the Diagnosticity of Children’s Disclosures of Abuse

WithThomas D. Lyon, Elizabeth C. Ahern, Nicholas Scurich

Because the child victim tends to be the only eyewitness to sexual abuse (other than the perpetrator), the child’s report is an extremely important piece of evidence in any abuse case. Researchers have identified a number of ways in which child interviewing can be improved, both by increasing the number of true details in reports of children who have been abused and by decreasing the likelihood that children who have not been abused make false reports. We will argue that children’s disclosures of abuse can be highly probative of abuse, particularly when they are elicited using techniques supported by research.