Do you know how to avoid catastrophe when it comes to closing child abuse cases? The last thing that an investigator wants to deal with in a child abuse case is recantation. One of the best ways to reduce the risk of recantations is through use of tested techniques and appropriate equipment as well as research-based training of clinicians involved.
What you might not know is that electronic recording equipment can actually help reduce the number of recantations your CAC handles.
In a research piece written a decade ago and updated in 2011, Dr. David Kingby, Maureen Drost and Muriel Wells, Recantation and False Allegations of Child Abuse, provide a guide that provides guidance to CAC clinicians when it comes to child abuse cases and points to ways to avoid faulty interview techniques and situations.
7 Topics Explored on Recantation and False Allegations of Child Abuse Research:
- Findings that speak to decision-making and relationship to false negative and positive errors in cases of alleged child abuse
- The specific difficulties of conducting reliable and meaningful research on child abuse
- Children’s behavior and the fallacy of symptoms as markers in the case of suspected child sexual abuse
- The impact of Megan’s Law on children with sexual behavior problems
- The literature on children’s susceptibility to suggestibility
- Specific controversies including: repeated interviews, inconsistencies in children’s statements and recantations of sexual abuse
- The effectiveness of using props to make memory more accessible for verbal reporting
Reduce the Risk of Recantation in your CAC
So how can reduce the risk of recantation? Several research groups have looked at the topic from a variety of angles to explore this very subject. Some multi-disciplinary teams, including the American Prosecutors Research Institute, Investigation and Prosecution of Child Abuse, have used forensic interviews to assist a non-offending caretaker, typically the mother, in understanding the child’s victimization and helping the mother accept the child’s maltreatment.
Other findings show specifically that when children are believed and supported by their mothers, they are more likely to be successful in recovering from abuse (Howard, 1993) and are less likely to recant an allegation of abuse. (Malloy & Lyon, 2006).
Has your CAC considered the role of the caretaker, often the mother, when it comes to running its forensic interviews? Moreover, are you recording these with updated digital audio and video recording equipment?
Bring Justice to the Defenseless
We can share additional details and how it works with your center as you look to 2015 to improve how you move closer to your goals in reducing recantations and helping achieve justice for those who cannot defend themselves—children.
Contact us to learn more!