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How reliable are forensic interviews in sexual abuse cases?

On Behalf of | Mar 22, 2022 | Sex Crimes |

One tool the authorities may use if you are accused of a child sex crime is a forensic interview. They ask the alleged victim a series of questions in a safe space. The idea is that away from other people, the child will tell the truth.

They can be a vital tool when someone has committed a sex crime. Yet they can also be a devastating one for anyone who is falsely accused.

Here are some of the problems with them:

Our memories change

Memories are not a highly accurate, impartial filing system to be called on at a later date. They are a fluid tool to help us tell ourselves stories about the past. Often when we gain new information, we change how we remember the event. That can be a good thing if the new information is correct but a bad one if it is incorrect.

Others can influence us to change our memories

The more someone tells a child they were abused, the more likely they may be to believe it. Interviewers can easily push children toward certain answers. They need to take great care not to do so and need to be totally impartial to avoid another issue.


Confirmation bias

Anyone that believes you committed the crime you are accused of is naturally more likely to interpret answers in a way that backs that assumption up. If an interviewer believes you abused the child, it may determine both their line of questioning to the child and their interpretation of the answers.

If you face sex crime accusations, do not think you can handle them yourself. You need to get urgent legal help to prevent false accusations from destroying your life.

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