DH Kaye

Supplement to Chapter 20
(Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Syndromes, and Profiles)
Science in Evidence

Copyright 1998 DH Kaye.

Child Sexual Abuse

The cases and materials at pp. 331-51 deal with the use of expert psychological testimony about post-traumatic stress disorder and the "child sexual abuse accommodation syndrome" to prove child abuse or to explain why behavior that a juror might not expect to observe amonf abused children is actually common.

A distinct issue is the use of therapists to interview children to elicit information about suspected sexual abuse. Many psychologists worry that such interviews are too suggestive and that most young children will come to agree with false accusations to please a sympathetic therapist. Should expert testimony to demonstrate that young children are suggestible and that a particular interview is dangerously suggestive? Transcripts of actual interviews used in some prominent cases, along with discussions of the cases and critiques by academic experts, can be found on Frontline's web site on questionable prosecutions for multiple molestations in Miami day care centers in the 1980s.

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updated 10/28/98