Issues in Psychology and Law
Over the past few years I have published several articles about the prevalence of false allegations of sexual abuse in child custody cases. The purpose of these articles has been to heighten the awareness of mental health professions, lawyers, the judiciary and the general public regarding these allegations, and to cite the research regarding how to differentiate true from false allegations of abuse. During this time, however, very little has changed; the same allegations are made in the same way, with more or less the same results. The typical scenario goes like this...
In the book, Investigative Interviews of Children, the basis for the Michigan Protocol for Interviewing Children Suspected of Abuse, the authors, Drs. Deborah Poole and Michael Lamb, report the following distinctions between forensic and non-forensic interviewing beginning at p. 106:
"Many professionals who work with children were trained primarily to provide services after the need for intervention had already been identified. Unfortunately, procedures and terminology in mental health, medical, and educational settings developed somewhat independently of the literature on cognitive development and forensic issues, creating communication difficulties that continue to foster controversy. For example, research shows that procedures that might make sense in therapeutic settings (e.g., playroom environments, props for reenactment, or directive questioning about pain or harm) are not always appropriate for forensic purposes. Furthermore, the underlying assumptions of therapeutic interviews often undermine or contradict those that guide investigative interviews, and thus most authors warn against professionals assuming dual roles with individual clients..."