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Describing individual incidents of sexual abuse: a review of research on the effects of multiple sources of information on children's reports

Roberts, Kim P. and Powell, Martine 2001, Describing individual incidents of sexual abuse: a review of research on the effects of multiple sources of information on children's reports, Child abuse and neglect, vol. 25, no. 12, pp. 1643-1659, doi: 10.1016/S0145-2134(01)00290-3.

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Title Describing individual incidents of sexual abuse: a review of research on the effects of multiple sources of information on children's reports
Author(s) Roberts, Kim P.
Powell, MartineORCID iD for Powell, Martine orcid.org/0000-0001-5092-1308
Journal name Child abuse and neglect
Volume number 25
Issue number 12
Start page 1643
End page 1659
Publisher Pergamon
Place of publication Oxford, England
Publication date 2001-12
ISSN 0145-2134
1873-7757
Summary Objective: For successful prosecution of child sexual abuse, children are often required to provide reports about individual, alleged incidents. Although verbally or mentally rehearsing memory of an incident can strengthen memories, children’s report of individual incidents can also be contaminated when they experience other events related to the individual incidents (e.g., informal interviews, dreams of the incident) and/or when they have similar, repeated experiences of an incident, as in cases of multiple abuse.

Method: Research is reviewed on the positive and negative effects of these related experiences on the length, accuracy, and structure of children’s reports of a particular incident.

Results: Children’s memories of a particular incident can be strengthened when exposed to information that does not contradict what they have experienced, thus promoting accurate recall and resistance to false, suggestive influences. When the encountered information differs from children’s experiences of the target incident, however, children can become confused between their experiences—they may remember the content but not the source of their experiences.

Conclusions: We discuss the implications of this research for interviewing children in sexual abuse investigations and provide a set of research-based recommendations for investigative interviewers.
Language eng
DOI 10.1016/S0145-2134(01)00290-3
Field of Research 170102 Developmental Psychology and Ageing
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2001, Elsevier Science Inc.
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30008393

Document type: Journal Article
Collections: School of Psychology
Higher Education Research Group
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Created: Mon, 13 Oct 2008, 15:30:49 EST

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