Who made the disclosure? Recorded discussions between children and caretakers suspecting child abuse

A1 Journal article (refereed)

Internal Authors/Editors

Publication Details

List of Authors: Julia Korkman, Aino Juusola, Pekka Santtila
Publication year: 2014
Journal: Psychology, Crime and Law
Journal acronym: PSYCHOL CRIME LAW
Volume number: 20
Issue number: 10
Start page: 994
End page: 1004
Number of pages: 11
ISSN: 1068-316X


Within investigations of suspected child abuse, the child's account is often at the core of the judicial process. When analysing the child's account, it is therefore important to consider how parents may have discussed the suspected abuse prior to the official investigation. However, no studies up to the present time have investigated discussions in real cases where parents suspect that their children have been abused. We analysed a sample (N = 19) of recorded conversations between parents and their children, delivered to the police as evidence for alleged physical or sexual abuse. Analyses of the questions used and the information provided in the discussions showed that the parent's strategies when questioning their children were extremely leading and that in the majority of the cases, all new information was provided by the parents. In spite of this, the parents deemed the recorded conversations as records of the children's accounts. While the sample was small and likely to be unrepresentative of child abuse suspicions in general, the findings have important practical implications. The results indicate that when planning an interview in a case where the alleged abuse relies on what a child allegedly has told a parent, particular caution should be taken when referring to these conversations.


CSA allegations, CSA investigations, false CSA suspicions, pre-interview contamination, suggestive questioning

Last updated on 2019-09-12 at 03:02