Assessing the accuracy of young children's reports: Lessons from the investigation of child sexual abuse

Debra A. Poole, D. Stephen Lindsay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

81 Scopus citations

Abstract

Procedures for investigating allegations of child sexual abuse have come under intense scrutiny by social critics, researchers, and the courts. Concerns about under- and overidentification have fueled two approaches to evaluation: the indicator approach, which seeks to specify symptoms that can be used to identify sexually abused children, and the assessments approach, which analyzes conditions associated with accurate versus inaccurate event reports. A review of research from these approaches reveals a number of gaps between empirical results and commonly cited aphorisms about how to discriminate between true and false reports. Four principles for designing studies and communicating findings are suggested to improve the interface between research and practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-26
Number of pages26
JournalApplied and Preventive Psychology
Volume7
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 1998

Keywords

  • Assessment
  • Children's reports
  • Evaluations
  • Eyewitness testimony
  • Sexual abuse

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