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NCJ Number: 122496 Find in a Library
Title: Linguistic Perspectives on the Child Sexual Abuse Interview
Author(s): R W Shuy
Date Published: Unknown
Page Count: 37
Type: Report (Technical)
Format: Document
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: An understanding of the linguistic perspective is useful in interviewing children in child sexual abuse cases, because the current procedures for trying to obtain accurate and useful information are inadequate and incomplete.
Abstract: The following four areas of linguistic knowledge may provide insights into methods and procedures of interviewing: 1) speech event structure, 2) schema conflict, 3) contextual meaning, and 4) child language development. Thus, the linguist focuses on the structure of the discussion about the alleged abuse, on whether the child is talking about an actual past event, on the meaning the child assigns to particular words, and the child's stage of language development. Interviews can improve their effectiveness by following a standard eight-phase interview sequence, by accurately restating the child's responses, and by asking openended questions before more direct questions. They should also avoid mixing an interrogation interview with a therapy interview, stay alert for contextual meaning as well as word meaning, become educated in all aspects of children's language development, and ask one question at a time. Interviews that violate these factors run serious risk of losing courtroom credibility. Case examples and 28 references.
Main Term(s): Child Sexual Abuse
Index Term(s): Interview and interrogation; Investigative techniques; Juvenile witnesses; Psycholinguistics
Note: To be published in Advances in Law and Child Development, S. M. Fulero and L. Olsen-Fulero, eds., JAI Press, Greenwich, Conn.
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