Background: The association between child maltreatment and polyvictimization has received growing attention since being identified by Finkelhor and colleagues in 2005. Objective: The current study was designed to explore the experiences and perceptions of children who reported polyvictimization during forensic interviews. Methods: This mixed-methods study sample comprised 117 children aged 5–14, referred for the first time to forensic interviews following suspected physical abuse by a parent. More than one-third of the children reported polyvictimization. A thematic analysis was carried out to spotlight these children's experiences. Results: The analysis identified three main themes: the way children comprehend the polyvictimization, the consequences of the polyvictimization regarding the children's negative self-attribution, and the way the polyvictimization was constructed through the dynamic with the forensic interviewers. Conclusions: The findings pointed to the importance of the forensic interview platform in assessing children's maltreatment burden. The current study also provided a glance into the possible involvement of the mechanics of self-blame among maltreated children. These findings have the potential to enhance our understanding of the excessive psychological toll taken on polyvictimized children.
- Child perceptions
- Forensic interview
- Mixed methods, thematic analysis