Date of Award

5-1-2012

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (BS)

Department

Sociology, Social Work, and Anthropology

First Advisor

Dr. Shannon Browne

Abstract

Child forensic interviews are essential in eliciting disclosures in child abuse cases. Due to the nature of abuse and the child victims, barriers are inevitable to obtaining a full disclosure. This research describes the barriers as well as the factors that increase the likelihood of eliciting a disclosure during child forensic interviews. Previous research has found that factors more likely to induce a disclosure are having a supportive primary caregiver, an investigation which was instigated by the child victim, and if the victim is an older female. Barriers preventing disclosure include threats made by the perpetrator, fear, lack of opportunity to disclose, lack of understanding of the abuse, and a close relationship between the victim and the perpetrator. For this research, qualitative interviews were conducted with child protection workers, social service staff and law enforcement who regularly conduct child forensic interviews to better understand the factors that increase the likelihood of disclosure among children, as well as the barriers that prevent disclosure. Findings from this research obtained from local practitioners indicate that factors that help elicit a disclosure include a child-­‐friendly environment, caregiver support, and connecting and rapport building between the interviewer and the child. The greatest barrier preventing disclosure was found to be the lack of caregiver support and the fear of the outcomes of disclosure. From this research we can better improve the way practitioners interview their child clients through providing a child-­‐friendly environment, ensuring support from caregivers, and the possible expansion to the NICHD child forensic interview protocol to better meet the needs of reluctant children.

Included in

Anthropology Commons

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