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PSYC 2400 (274)
Adelle Forth (114)
Lecture 12

Lecture 12

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PSYC 2400
Adelle Forth

Lecture 12- Child Abuse Thursday, February 10, 2011 - the rest of Ch. 6 - **Don’t need to know about child custody, divorce (end of Ch. 6) - Interviewing children o increasing information accuracy - Courtroom accommodations (for children who testify in court) - Child abuse - **Question** o False memory syndrome is a term coined to describe what?  1) False beliefs that they were sexually abused as a child, having forgotten this abuse for some time period o In Leichtman and Ceci’s Sam Stone study, which condition led to the highest accuracy level? **something similar will be on the FINAL  a) Control - Step-wise interview o Rapport and discussion of truth  Particularly with child that’s been sexually abused  Rapport  This is not a play session—don’t want to suggest that this is a place to fantasize about things  “I need you to tell me the truth of what happened.”  Establish rapport—could make the child more suggestible  But at the same time, need to feel comfortable  Be very careful with this o Assessment of cognitive/verbal skills  Describe two neutral/happy events (last birthday party they went to)—get a sense of how much detail they can give  May want to take the event farther back, way before the event o Introducing topic of concern  Do you know why you are talking with me today?  **DON’T BE LIKE NEVADA POLICE INTERVIEW WITH 9 YEAR OLD** • Name, birthday, age—that was his rapport • Didn’t assess cognitive/verbal skills • It is my understanding that Mr. X did something bad to you. Is that true? • WRONG—identifies the perpetrator, stated what happened  Has anything happened to you that you would like to tell me? o Free narrative  Report everything (no interruptions)  Even if it’s not in chronological order  Children often experience multiple episodes of sexual abuse, might mix up what happened in specific occasions o Questioning phase  General—let’s go back to what happened before Christmas, summer holidays  Specific—particular details, if you need to (but they should not be misleading information, like trying to get child to admit this happened—don’t provide information that other kid said, for instance.) - Interview aids o If you have 2-3 year old (very young) may need aids like drawing, puppets, dolls o Could draw someone and they’d indicate where they were touched o Dolls should not usually be entered into the interview, but if they are, should be at the very end o Puppets—kids could be threatened not to say anything—child knows what a secret means and are afraid that bad things will happen if they tell—it’s easier to talk to puppets—but kids are used to playing with puppets, could be play acting  Should be at the end, when you’ve got evidence that something has happened - Narrative elaboration o Have cue cards—participants (helps you tell me who was there and how they looked)  Could use this card to help you remember  Would use these in the neutral story to get used to using them  Then they introduce them later to help tell what happened  Increases detail and accuracy, this along with step-wise interview - **QUESTION** o Children rarely make up stories of being sexually abused.  True or false? - Udo Undeutsch o Called to testify in cases involving sexual abuse in Germany o He felt the kids had legitimate claims, but the kids were not believed o He was frustrated, trying to get courts to believe the child o Experiences are different from made up abuse—statements should differ o Criteria-based content analysis o He wanted to support the credibility of children, not to try to catch children engaging in false allegations o When might false disclosures of sexual abuse occur?  Coercive, misleading interviews  But MORE COMMONLY: during custody battles (about 2-8% outside custody) • In custody, one parent is alleging other parent of sexual abuse: jumps up to 40% • Tends to be mothers accusing ex-husbands of sexual abuse • Child does not disclose this on their own • Mother might coach kid  But Undeutch said what if it actually happened—thinks there would be differences - Criteria-based content analysis o Interview with child—could code this statement using these criteria in CBCA o Would have to transcribe interview and then apply o General characteristics  Logical structure—how did that abuse happen in the child’s life? (Did the abuse happen at 1pm at Wednesday? But she was at school. Does she talk about not doing the activities she normally does? etc.)  Unstructured production (does it sound spontaneous vs. rehearsed?) • When coached, will say exactly what they have been practising • When telling the truth, could suddenly stop and correct himself/herself  Quantity of details—most discriminating • If it’s sparse in terms of details and say “I don’t know” when you prompt them with general questions, probably not telling the truth • But younger children produce fewer details (3 year old vs. 9 year old) o Specific content  Reproduction of speech • Perpetrator said this, younger brother said this, etc. Dialogue  Unexpected complications • Phone rings, brother knocks on door and perpetrator yelled at him to go back to basement, etc.  Accurately reported detail misunderstood • Ejaculation described as peeing for 2-3 year old • Very unlikely that mother would coach child to say that • Rare, but very supportive o Motivation-related content  Spontaneous correction • Rehearsed statement means you have to keep to the story  Admitting lack of memory • Quite supportive, especially if it’s long-lasting abuse o Offense-related elements  Details characteristics of offense progression • First time was magazine, then video, etc. • Perpetrators will groom children - Research looking at validity of this technique o Study in UBC by Yuille  6-9 year olds in lab  Told to tell true story about something that was negative  You are involved, upset, couldn’t control the event  Then given a false story to tell (like coaching)  11 of CBCA criteria more often seen in true stories as compared to false stories • 83% of true stories identified • 58% of false stories identified o **Doesn’t have very high accuracy, but it’s in the direction you want—to support the children o Again, this sort of negative event (getting scared by a dog) does not equate with sexual abuse—easier to accept that it happened than to say it was false - Field study: Lamb et al. o 98 victims, children in the community o Ground truth based on independent evidence (physical trauma consistent with the abuse) o Used polygraph results, eyewitness evidence, DNA in some cases—some of the evidence would be more suspect (polygraph and confession are not as strong as DNA evidence) o Most were confirmed as actual victims o 13 were doubtful—no independent corroboration whatsoever o 9 they couldn’t figure out—excluded o Field studies are very difficult—parent would have to consent o Usually sample sizes are quite small, this was quite big o 14 were scored—higher scores for confirmed (6.7 vs. 4.8) but not such a huge difference o Textbook gives better example (28 vs. 6) o Maybe confirmed, where they relied on polygraph or confessions were wrong, or maybe the doubtful were telling the truth o Used more in Europe than here because of lack of scientific research o No specific cutoff score, no minimum amount of criteria needed to tell whether it’s true, does it distinguish between conscious vs. distorted lie?, etc. - Courtroom issues o If children are alleging abuse and someone is charged, will have to go to court and testify o 12 year old child had been allegedly sexually abused by neighbour for 3 years, said this after going to court o Being cross-examined by defence lawyer who attacks her credibility— asked very confusing questions o But that lawyer is representing the client o Typically no DNA, physical, medical evidence o It all relies on what the kid says o Defence lawyer will challenge the evidence o Kids can be easily confused on the stand  memory factors • Can’t remember specific details • In the case of delayed disclosure, might be questioned why they waited • Source misattribution—it wasn’t the neighbour, it was someone else (CBCA didn’t account for this—might
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