Components of child and parent interviews in cases of alleged sexual abuse

Roberta A. Hibbard, Georgia L. Hartman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Considerable discussion in child sexual abuse evaluation centers around minimizing the number of victim interviews, however, the completeness of one professional's interview is not always addressed. In this study, professionals (medical, social, law enforcement/legal, mental health) indicated what components they included in their interviews of sexual abuse victims and their parents. Components included: details of abuse, family relationships, school situation/performance, child's development (toilet training, bed wetting, language development, etc.), child's knowledge of body part names, child's knowledge of body part functions, child-rearing practices (bathing, sleeping), medical history (illnesses, surgery), behavior problems, psychological symptoms (nightmares, sadness), physical complaints (pain, discharge), parental teaching about sex, and child's access to sexually explicit television or magazines. Interview components varied by profession, consistent with expected professional bias. This study demonstrates some professional bias in interviewing children and parents and suggests that having a single interview or interviewer may not always be optimal for a thorough evaluation. Increased communication and teamwork among professionals, and cross-training among disciplines could facilitate both the recognition of appropriateness of some "multiple interviews" as well as provide efforts to consolidate interviews when possible.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)495-500
Number of pages6
JournalChild Abuse and Neglect
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 1993


  • Child abuse
  • Interviews
  • Sexual abuse

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Social Psychology
  • Education
  • Law
  • Sociology and Political Science

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