UBC Theses and Dissertations
Young child interview responses to anatomically detailed dolls : implications for practice and research in child sexual abuse Goranson, Sandra Elizabeth
Assessments of allegations of sexual abuse of young children are being made based on investigative interviews with children using anatomically detailed dolls. These decisions are not based on a researched body of knowledge. This qualitative exploratory study involved interviewing fourteen, 3-5 year old children selected as likely to have a low risk of having been sexually abused using a model of the child sexual abuse investigative interview. It was found that the behaviours these children exhibited included those which are often of concern in regular assessments and may even be considered to be indicative of sexual abuse. The conceptual findings indicate that: 1) the anatomically detailed dolls appear to be a useful but not essential tool that should be used with considerable caution; 2) all such interviews should be video taped; 3) interviewers need to be knowledgable in the areas of child sexual abuse and child development. Further research is needed to establish the total range of investigative interview behaviours exhibited by nonabused children as well as to clarify what interview factors enhance and distort a child's presentation of a past history of child sexual abuse. Until this is accomplished the assumptions which are used to validate allegations of child sexual abuse will continue to fluctuate from interview to interview.