“Yes, My Uncle, I’ll Do Whatever You Say”: Experiences of Israeli Muslim Arab Children During Forensic Interviews Following Child Sexual Abuse

Carmit Katz, Dafna Tener, Amitai Marmor, Efrat Lusky-Weisrose, Hanin Mordi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Children from Arab society in Israel have been overlooked in previous studies and efforts in the area of forensic interviews. The current study provides an in-depth thematic analysis of 30 forensic interviews with Israeli Muslim Arab children following child sexual abuse (CSA), all conducted by Arab forensic interviewers. In multicultural Israeli society, Muslim Arabs make up 18% of the population. In addition to the religious and cultural difference, this minority is involved in an ongoing conflict with the majority Jewish society in Israel and tends to have low trust of government authorities. This background necessarily affects the area of forensic interviews with children. The research explores the unique encounter between maltreated children from Israeli Muslim Arab society and forensic interviewers, highlighting its particular characteristics and challenges. Data analysis revealed a central theme of a clash of worlds. The forensic interviewers, although hailing from a similar background as the children, followed best practices developed in western societies. The children, on the other hand, faced enormous conflict in addressing CSA terminology and complying with the requirements of the forensic world in ways that are forbidden to the them in their own. Moreover, having been educated to accept the authority of adults unquestioningly, the children were torn between the difficulty of disclosing the abuse to someone outside the family, and the obligation to communicate candidly with the adult interviewer as required in the forensic context. The findings highlight the urgent need to reform the services these children receive and to dedicate future efforts to further assessment of cultural context and its impact on maltreated children, particularly in the forensic context.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)NP2465-NP2489
JournalJournal of Interpersonal Violence
Volume37
Issue number5-6
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2022

Keywords

  • Israeli Muslim Arab children
  • child maltreatment
  • child sexual abuse
  • cultural context
  • forensic interviews

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