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Telling Interviewers About Sexual Abuse: Predictors of Child Disclosure at Forensic Interviews

NCJ Number
Date Published
February 2009
14 pages
This study examined characteristics that predict full disclosure by victims of sexual abuse during a forensic interview.
Results illuminate the specific relationship of child age at onset and child age at forensic interview to disclosure and suggest that rates of disclosure at the forensic interview may vary across communities. Consistent with previous research, girls had a higher rate of full disclosure during a forensic interview than boys. Also, children who disclosed prior to the forensic interview more often disclosed at the forensic interview than did children who had made no disclosure prior to the interview. The positive relationship between caregiver support and child disclosure is consistent with reviewed studies. The study outlined various actions that could be used to define caregiver support. In bivariate relationships, contacting law enforcement, contacting another, restricting child-suspect contact, and removing the suspect were related to an increased likelihood of a full disclosure; disclosure was also more common among cases involving extrafamilial abuse, vaginal or anal penetration, and older suspects. Data were collected from 987 cases of alleged sexual abuse where cases included a forensic interview with a known outcome. Tables, figure, and references

Date Published: February 1, 2009