The relationship between children’s age and disclosures of sexual abuse during forensic interviews

Leach, Chelsea, Powell, Martine, Sharman, Stefanie and Anglim, Jeromy 2017, The relationship between children’s age and disclosures of sexual abuse during forensic interviews, Child maltreatment, vol. 22, no. 1, pp. 79-88, doi: 10.1177/1077559516675723.

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Title The relationship between children’s age and disclosures of sexual abuse during forensic interviews
Author(s) Leach, Chelsea
Powell, MartineORCID iD for Powell, Martine
Sharman, StefanieORCID iD for Sharman, Stefanie
Anglim, JeromyORCID iD for Anglim, Jeromy
Journal name Child maltreatment
Volume number 22
Issue number 1
Start page 79
End page 88
Total pages 10
Publisher Sage
Place of publication London, Eng.
Publication date 2017
ISSN 1077-5595
Keyword(s) child sexual abuse
case characteristics
forensic interview
child age
Summary Children’s disclosures of sexual abuse during forensic interviews are fundamental to the investigation of cases. Research examining the relationship between age and disclosure has shown mixed results; the aim of the current study was to clarify and extend our knowledge by modeling linear, quadratic, and interaction effects of age on disclosure. Child sexual abuse reports made by children, their caregivers, or mandated reporters over a 12-month period to police in one state of Australia were examined. Of the 527 children (age range 3–16 years) offered a forensic interview, 81% disclosed abuse during it. The other 19% did not disclose or refused the interview. Age had both linear and quadratic effects, whereby disclosure increased with age until 11 years, after which disclosure decreased with age to 16 years. The effect of age on disclosure was moderated by five variables: abuse severity, the child–suspect relationship, suspects’ violence histories, delay of report to police, and children’s previous disclosures. Particular groups of children had lower likelihoods of disclosing abuse in forensic interviews than others, such as adolescents who alleged abuse against suspects with histories of violent offending. By identifying these groups, targeted strategies may be developed to help increase their disclosure rates.
Language eng
DOI 10.1177/1077559516675723
Field of Research 170104 Forensic Psychology
1607 Social Work
1701 Psychology
Socio Economic Objective 970117 Expanding Knowledge in Psychology and Cognitive Sciences
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Copyright notice ©2016, The Authors
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Document type: Journal Article
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School of Psychology
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