Factors That Contribute to More Detailed Disclosures of Child Sexual Abuse During Forensic Interviews
Methods: This study compared the previous and revised interviews through content analysis of 100 videotaped forensic interviews and case files where children disclosed sexual abuse. We developed a coding scheme and tested it for inter-rater reliability (n=15) with 90% agreement between coders. Coded data included demographic information, relationship of child to the alleged perpetrator, type of abuse allegation, and number of details provided by the child during the interview after disclosure. The outcome variable was number of details and included language related to time, place, people, events, and descriptive words used by the children regarding the abuse. Data analysis included descriptive statistics, independent sample t-tests, and linear regression.
Results: Comparison of the non-narrative interview group to the narrative group showed a statistically significant difference in the number of details provided (t = 1.7052, df = 58.006, p = 0.04676). Linear regression showed that older children (F=53.18, df=98, p<0.001) and an increase in supportive interviewer statements (F=13.07, df=98, p<0.001) significantly predicted more details. Girls provided significantly more details than boys (t = 3.57, df = 58, p<0.001). Children related to the alleged perpetrator provided significantly fewer details than those who were unrelated to the alleged perpetrator (t = -2.45, df = 68.56, p= 0.017).
Implications: Our results show that the revised, narrative-supportive protocol elicits more detail than the former, non-narrative interview protocol and that age, gender, and relationship to perpetrators are significant in predicting the number of details children provide. Of note in the present research is that children require considerable support during forensic interviews when they have family relationships with alleged perpetrators. This has implications for further revisions of the interview. The results also suggest the need for more effective ways to interview boys and younger children.