The behavior patterns of abused children as described in their testimonies

C. Katz*, Z. Barnetz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The aim of the current study is to identify how children describe their behavior during abuse and to explore their behavior further with respect to the type of the abuse (physical or sexual), frequency of abuse (single or multiple incidents), familiarity with the suspect, and children's age and gender, with the assumption that this information may have a significant effect on the children's recovery process. The study involved 224 transcripts of interviews with alleged victims aged 5-14 in Israel. The sample was randomly selected from all of the forensic investigations with children that were conducted in Israel in 2011. The results show that abuse type has a strong effect on children's behavior, with children in the sexual abuse group reporting more fight and flight behavior and children in the physical abuse group reporting more self-change behavior. This finding was interacted with the severity of abuse variable, with children in the sexual abuse group reporting less flight behavior and an increase in the self-change behavior with the highest level of severity of abuse (touch under the clothes and penetration). Investigative interviews with children can be a significant source of information for practitioners within the clinical context. The current study stresses the consequences that abuse can have on children's behavior during these incidents and the implications for the therapy process with the children.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1033-1040
Number of pages8
JournalChild Abuse and Neglect
Volume38
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2014

Keywords

  • Behavior patterns
  • Investigative interview
  • Physical abuse
  • Sexual abuse

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