Expert judgment in cases of alleged child sexual abuse: clinicians' sensitivity to suggestive influences, pre-existing beliefs and base rate estimates

K Finnilä-Tuohimaa, Pekka Santtila, M Sainio, P Niemi, Kenneth Sandnabba

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10 Citations (Scopus)


Clinicians' expertise in child sexual abuse (CSA) cases was explored by giving a questionnaire covering clinical experience, self-evaluated expertise, beliefs and attitudes about CSA and a trial material concerning CSA to 320 child mental health professionals. In the material the suggestiveness of the interview with the child was varied and one condition did not contain any interview transcript. Participants were sensitive to the presence of leading questions but not to the presence of other suggestive techniques and not to the possibility that suggestive techniques could have been used when no interview transcripts were included. Experience only affected sensitivity to leading questions. Strong attitudes and beliefs lessened the sensitivity to leading questions and made participants more prone to wanting the case to be prosecuted when other suggestive influences than leading questions were present. Practical implications of the results will be discussed.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)129–142
JournalScandinavian Journal of Psychology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2009
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

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