“For the beginning case worker or those who wish to know about the relevant issues without necessarily becoming directly involved, this little book provides a useful introduction.” --Child & Family Behavior Therapy “The language is conversational, the style directive, addressing the reader personally and the instructions are explicit and stepwise. Following detailed preparation for the interview, there are good suggestions on how to help the child begin talking about any sexual abuse which she might have experienced. Avoidance of leading questions, with examples, is repeatedly advocated.” --Danya Glaser in ACPP Review & Newsletter Taking a comprehensive look at a complex task, How to Interview Sexual Abuse Victims is an excellent introduction to the process of interviewing children and includes a special segment on the appropriate use of anatomical dolls. Marcia Morgan, cocreator of the dolls, walks the reader through an interview from beginning to end and provides information on how to create an environment intended to minimize the child's trauma as well as enhance the amount, quality, and validity of information obtained. The book examines problems professionals might encounter with young children and material on preinterview preparation. In addition, there are sections included that provide training exercises, a glossary, an annotated bibliography, and a listing of audiovisual resources. Based on the author's many years of experience, as well as case law, How to Interview Sexual Abuse Victims is ideally designed for use by professionals including police, social service workers, and prosecutors. “Overall, this brief book is a worthwhile contribution to the literature on the interviewing of child witnesses…. Those who use, or who are considering using, dolls should ensure that they are familiar with this book's contents.” --Ray Bull, review in Expert Evidence: The International Digest of Human Behaviour Science and Law “Highly recommended.” --Family Violence & Sexual Assault Bulletin Book Club

Legal Issues

Legal issues

Common Legal Questions

The proper use of anatomical dolls can be a catalyst for establishing rapport and competency, calming the child, reducing embarrassment in the interview and courtroom, and enhancing clear communication (Freeman & Estrada-Mullaney, 1988; Friedemann & Morgan, 1985). An interviewing protocol is important to ensure the proper and appropriate use of the dolls with children (Boat & Everson, 1988a, 1988b; Freeman & Estrada-Mullaney, 1988; Jampole & Weber, 1987; Walker, 1988; White, Strom, Santilli, & Halpin, 1986). Yet the dolls are not a cure-all, nor do they ensure disclosure or provide a fail-safe method of obtaining the truth (Boat & Everson, 1988a, 1988b).

There are three fundamental legal questions surrounding the use of anatomical dolls:

  • Are the dolls leading and suggestive because they ...
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