Failing to keep it simple: Language use in child sexual abuse interviews with 3-8-year-old children

J Korkman, Pekka Santtila, T Drzewiecki, Kenneth Sandnabba

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


However, results showed that the language used included long and complex sentences, multiple questions before the child was allowed to answer, as well as unclear references to persons and situations. These were all associated with fewer details from the child and they also raise concerns about the credibility of the information gained in these interviews. Interviewers had some age sensitivity; all categories occurred more frequently in interviews with older (6-8 years) than with younger children (3-5 years), except for the unclear references. The interviewers often introduced the topic of abuse in a leading yet unclear way, and the interviews were characterized by fluctuation between on- and off-topic discussions, adding to the concerns. The issue of how to more properly and age-appropriately conduct CSA interviews needs further attention, both within research and in attempts to translate research findings into clinical practice.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)41–60
Number of pages20
JournalPsychology, Crime and Law
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2008
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • child sexual abuse investigations
  • forensic child interviews
  • interview structure
  • interviewer utterances
  • language use in interviews

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