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

Julia Korkman, Aino Juusola, Pekka Santtila

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


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.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)994–1004
Number of pages11
JournalPsychology, Crime and Law
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2014
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


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

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