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NCJ Number: 236361 Find in a Library
Title: Evidence Supporting Restrictions on Uses of Body Diagrams in Forensic Interviews
Journal: Child Abuse & Neglect  Volume:35  Issue:9  Dated:September 2011  Pages:659-669
Author(s): Debra Ann Poole; Jason J. Dickinson
Date Published: 2011
Page Count: 11
Sponsoring Agency: National Science Foundation
Arlington, VA 22230
Grant Number: SES-0718889;SES-0718856
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: This study compared two methods for questioning children about suspected sexual touching: standard interviewing and body-diagram-focused (BDF) interviewing, in which interviewers draw on a flip board and introduce the topic of touching with the use of a body diagram.
Abstract: The study found that because specific questions about touch appear early in the BDF protocol, this procedure elicited more true reports than the open-ended questions in the standard protocol, but at the expense of a large increase in the number of suggested reports (children reporting what they believed the interviewer wanted to hear). Body diagrams also led some children to point to body parts that had not been touched or descried in the story; therefore, diagrams are more suggestive than questions alone, because children rarely acquiesce to initial yes-no questions that ask about novel (nonexperienced and nonsuggested ) touches. Also, yes-no questions rarely prompt children to describe events that are unrelated to information embedded in the questions. Due to the combination of suggested and spontaneous false reports in the BDF condition, calculations that assume two base rates of touching (5 percent and 80 percent touched children in the total sample) showed that accuracy differences would increasingly favor standard interviewing as the percentage of children in a sample who were touched increased. Unless subsequent research yields a different picture, these findings suggest that policymakers should place a moratorium on the practice of introducing body diagrams early in interviews. For this study, 261 children, 4-9 years old individually participated in science demonstrations during which half the children were touched two times. Months later, parents read stories to their children that described accurate and inaccurate information about the demonstrations. The stories for untouched children also contained inaccurate descriptions of touching. The children completed standard or BDF interviews, followed by source-monitoring questions. 2 tables and 32 references
Main Term(s): Juvenile victims
Index Term(s): Child abuse detection; Child abuse investigations; Child Sexual Abuse; Child victim interviews; Personal interviews; Police interview/interrogation of juvenile
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