• December 2016
  • Vol. 17, No. 9

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More Research Needed on Interviewing Alleged Abuse Victims

According to child protection educators, more research is needed to determine the benefit of using anatomical dolls and body diagrams in forensic interviews in child abuse cases,.

The Gundersen National Child Protection Training Center, in conjunction with the ChildFirst/Finding Words Forensic Interview Training Programs, has a new position paper on the use of anatomical dolls and body diagrams in investigations of child abuse. The group is calling for enhanced and more neutral research on the use of such media aids in child abuse cases. Specifically, the group advocates the following:

  • Undertaking more studies on the use of anatomical dolls and body diagrams in forensic interviews
  • Designing studies that more accurately reflect scenarios of abuse and that employ media relevant to actual forensic interviewing practices
  • Understanding the potential for bias in study designs
  • Consulting frontline professionals in the design of future studies
  • Encouraging a respectful dialogue on the use of such media
  • Recognizing dolls and diagrams are useful in multiple forms of abuse investigations and should not be confined to potential instances of sexual abuse
  • Considering the use of dolls and diagrams within a context that goes beyond the forensic interview process to the entire investigation of purported abuse
  • Acknowledging that child abuse investigations have multiple checks on false positive charges but comparatively few checks on false negatives

The position paper, Anatomical Dolls and Diagrams, is available at http://www.gundersenhealth.org/ncptc/trainings-education/newsletters/anatomical-dolls-diagrams/.

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