Sexual abuse in young children is a delicate issue and requires careful consideration. Many allegations are disregarded due to lack of physical evidence. This is why it’s necessary to use other methods for validating accusations. Forensic psychology is one highly successful approach. Mental health professionals can extensively evaluate child sexual abuse claims and offer authoritative opinions on their credibility.
Interpreting the Child’s Statements
If your son or daughter has made a sexual abuse accusation, you may need the help of an expert mental health examiner. A forensic psychologist will look for specific patterns that signify sexual violation. This includes particular behaviors or styles in which the child reports the abuse. Detailed or graphic descriptions of the actual molestation may be more reliable than vague or general accounts.
Psychologists also attempt to pull explicit facts from the child’s memory regarding the alleged abuse. If a child can describe where the act took place or what the offender said, the credibility of the accusation increases. Precise details such as what the abuser was wearing and which clothing items were removed add to the plausibility of the claim as well.
Using Nonverbal Methods of Expression
Some psychologists use anatomically correct dolls to confirm a sexual abuse complaint. These physical aids help children express themselves without having to verbalize their encounters with offenders. The downside to this method is that the child’s interaction with the doll can be misleading. Many children who have never been abused will explore and show unusual interest in a doll’s genitals.
Mental health experts often read between the lines when it comes to how a child plays with anatomically precise dolls. By clearly explaining that each doll represents a real person, such as the offender and the child, the examiner can subtly encourage role-playing that may substantiate the allegation. If a specialist proposes the use of these dolls with your son or daughter, be sure to discuss the process thoroughly beforehand.
Dealing With Recantations and False Accusations
At some point, a molested child may take back an allegation. There are numerous motives for a child to recant an accusation, so a professional must pinpoint the reasons in order to determine if the abuse actually occurred. False allegations are even more difficult to resolve because young children can be misled into reporting events incorrectly. This results in the child truly believing the abuse took place.
With child sexual abuse allegations increasing, examinations need to be systematic and comprehensive. Factors to consider include the emotional condition of the child and the parents, the state of the family unit, the child’s behavior patterns and any motivation for false accusations. If you believe your child has been sexually abused, contact one of our specialists. We can help you get the answers and resolution you’re seeking.