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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 222267 Find in a Library
Title: Protecting the Children: Program Trains Detectives To Help Child Victims Find the Words To Describe Their Abuse
Journal: Law Enforcement Technology  Volume:35  Issue:3  Dated:March 2008  Pages:30-36
Author(s): Serita Stevens
Date Published: March 2008
Page Count: 7
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article provides an overview of the content and structure of a 5-day seminar that guides police officers in how to interview child victims/witnesses about sexual abuse or any type of violent crime.
Abstract: The seminar, called "Finding Words," trains participants in rapport, anatomy identification, touch inquiry, abuse scenario, and closure protocol. Rapport is considered important as the first step in the interview process. It involves the development of a comfortable interaction with the child in which the interviewer assesses the child's development and competence. This assessment will determine the words and concepts that the interviewer uses in communicating with the child about what has happened to him/her. Anatomical identification, the next step in the interview, involves using anatomically correct dolls in order to determine the names a child victim uses for various body parts. Since such dolls are depicted with all types of ethnic backgrounds, the doll's appearance should reflect the child's ethnicity. The interview then proceeds to a discussion of the difference between "good" touching (touching that involves hugs in which the child feels loved and appreciated) and "bad" (touches the child does not like or that occur in places on the body that make him/her feel uncomfortable). When discussing communications about the abuse scenario, the seminar teaches that children communicate in three ways: language, behavior, and emotion. The seminar teaches the interviewer to respond to the child's lead in these areas of communication rather than attempting to invoke reactions in the child through leading questions by the interviewer. The final step in the interview process is finding closure. Students are taught when to move to closure under varying types and stages of the child's disclosure or nondisclosure.
Main Term(s): Police child abuse training
Index Term(s): Child abuse; Child abuse training programs; Child Sexual Abuse; Police interview/interrogation of juvenile; Police interviewing training
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