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The Coached Child: Is Coaching a Problem in Child Sexual Abuse? Kathleen Coulborn Faller, Ph. D., A.C.S.W. Marion Elizabeth Blue Professor of Children.

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Presentation on theme: "The Coached Child: Is Coaching a Problem in Child Sexual Abuse? Kathleen Coulborn Faller, Ph. D., A.C.S.W. Marion Elizabeth Blue Professor of Children."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Coached Child: Is Coaching a Problem in Child Sexual Abuse? Kathleen Coulborn Faller, Ph. D., A.C.S.W. Marion Elizabeth Blue Professor of Children and Families University of Michigan School of Social Work kcfaller@umich.edu

2 Topics for the Session Coaching survey Coaching survey Coaching children about sexual abuse: A pilot study of professionals’ perceptions Coaching children about sexual abuse: A pilot study of professionals’ perceptions Video case example Video case example Studies that indirectly address the issue of coaching Studies that indirectly address the issue of coaching Real world studies Real world studies Incidence studies Incidence studies Analogue studies Analogue studies Studies that specifically try to coach and program children Studies that specifically try to coach and program children Practice suggestions Practice suggestions

3 Coaching Survey Please complete the coaching survey. Please complete the coaching survey.

4 Faller, K.C. (2007). Coaching children about child abuse: Professionals’ perceptions of the problem. Child Abuse & Neglect: The International Journal. 31(9), 947-959. 192 professionals—attendees at 6 conferences 192 professionals—attendees at 6 conferences Male=48Female=136No gender=8 Male=48Female=136No gender=8 Mean age=39.7Range=24-79 Mean age=39.7Range=24-79 Mean number of years working with children=10.5Range=0-35 Mean number of years working with children=10.5Range=0-35 Education Education Bachelors=66 Bachelors=66 Masters=85 Masters=85 PhD/MD/JD=27 PhD/MD/JD=27

5 Demographic Differences Women more likely to have Masters Degree as their highest degree than men. Women more likely to have Masters Degree as their highest degree than men. Men more likely to have PhD/MD/JD as highest degree than women. Men more likely to have PhD/MD/JD as highest degree than women. Women had on average 11 years of experience. Women had on average 11 years of experience. Men had on average 9 years of experience. Men had on average 9 years of experience.

6 Coaching I have worked on a case involving a coached child I have worked on a case involving a coached child Yes=153 (79.7%) Yes=153 (79.7%) No= 14 (7.3%) No= 14 (7.3%) Unsure= 22 (11.5%) Unsure= 22 (11.5%) Number of cases Number of cases Mean= 12.3 (SD=52) Mean= 12.3 (SD=52) Median= 3 Median= 3 Mode= 2 Mode= 2

7 Number of Coached Cases Seen

8 Major Findings Who coaches? Who coaches? First rank First rank Mothers=15178.6% Mothers=15178.6% Fathers= 15 7.8% Fathers= 15 7.8% Other relatives= 18 4.2% Other relatives= 18 4.2% Second rank Second rank Mothers= 17 8.9% Mothers= 17 8.9% Fathers=11962.0% Fathers=11962.0% Other relatives= 15 7.8% Other relatives= 15 7.8%

9 Major Findings What kinds of cases? What kinds of cases? First rank First rank Divorce/custody=14575.5% Divorce/custody=14575.5% Physical abuse= 13 6.8% Physical abuse= 13 6.8% Second rank Second rank Divorce/custody= 15 7.8 Divorce/custody= 15 7.8 Physical abuse= 6433.3% Physical abuse= 6433.3%

10 What interventions are best when there is coaching? NumberPercent NumberPercent Therapy 13469.8% Therapy 13469.8% Confrontation Confrontation by professional 79 41.1% by professional 79 41.1% Confrontation Confrontation by accused 15 7.8% by accused 15 7.8% Supervised visits 66 34.4% Supervised visits 66 34.4% Unsupervised visits 5 2.6 Unsupervised visits 5 2.6 Change of custody 11 5.7 Change of custody 11 5.7

11 Gender differences There were no significant differences by gender in whether the professional had worked on a case involving a coached child, the number of such cases, or who did the coaching. However, there were differences by gender in intervention strategies endorsed. Women professionals (N=106, 78%) were more likely to use therapy than men (N=26, 54%) [Chi sq. (2, N=184)=10, p=.007]. Men (N=28, 58%) were more likely to confront the child than women (N=49, 26%) [Chi sq. (2, N=184)=7.3, p=.02]. Men (N=7,15%) were more likely than women (N=4, 3%) to endorse a change of custody to the accused than women, when they thought the child had been coached [Chi sq (2, N=184)=8.7, p=.01].

12 Additional Research Relevant to the Issue of Coaching Research cannot tell you whether a child has been coached in a specific case, but it can inform you about the frequency, contexts, and characteristics of coaching situations. Research cannot tell you whether a child has been coached in a specific case, but it can inform you about the frequency, contexts, and characteristics of coaching situations. Real world studies: studies of actual cases. Real world studies: studies of actual cases. Analogue studies: research that involves either staged or naturally occurring events in children’s lives. Analogue studies: research that involves either staged or naturally occurring events in children’s lives.

13 Frequency of coaching Oates, Jones, Denson, Sirotnak, Gary, & Krugman, Erroneous concerns about child sexual abuse. Child Abuse & Neglect, 2000. Reports of sexual abuse to child protective services Reports of sexual abuse to child protective services N=551 N=551 14 (2.5%) erroneous concerns from children 14 (2.5%) erroneous concerns from children 3 (1/2%) made in collusion with parents (may have been coached). 3 (1/2%) made in collusion with parents (may have been coached). 3 (1/2%) misinterpretations. 3 (1/2%) misinterpretations. 8 (1.5%) false by children (may have been coached). 8 (1.5%) false by children (may have been coached).

14 Trocme & Bala, Child Abuse & Neglect, 2005 Trocme & Bala, False allegations of abuse and neglect when parents separate. Child Abuse & Neglect, 2005 1998 Canadian Incidence Study data (N=7,672). 1998 Canadian Incidence Study data (N=7,672). Collected from Child Protection staff—their perceptions of deliberate false allegations. Collected from Child Protection staff—their perceptions of deliberate false allegations. Studied all types of intentionally false allegations of abuse. Studied all types of intentionally false allegations of abuse. Overall percentage of intentional false allegations was 4%. Overall percentage of intentional false allegations was 4%. Neglect was the most common false allegation, but the percent for sexual abuse cases was greater 6%. Neglect was the most common false allegation, but the percent for sexual abuse cases was greater 6%. In custody cases 12% were considered false. In custody cases 12% were considered false.

15 Trocme & Bala, contd. Non-custodial parents—mostly fathers (15%) and anonymous reporters (25%) were the most common reporters of intentional false allegations. Non-custodial parents—mostly fathers (15%) and anonymous reporters (25%) were the most common reporters of intentional false allegations. The rate for custodial parents—mostly mothers, was 2%. The rate for custodial parents—mostly mothers, was 2%. The rate of false reports by children was 4%. The rate of false reports by children was 4%. There were no instances of false allegations of sexual abuse by children. There were no instances of false allegations of sexual abuse by children. Only 2 intentional false allegations were against non-custodial parents. Only 2 intentional false allegations were against non-custodial parents.

16 Analogue Studies Called analogue studies because the events are supposed to be analogous with abuse and the questioning techniques analogous with forensic interviewing. Called analogue studies because the events are supposed to be analogous with abuse and the questioning techniques analogous with forensic interviewing. Most are with non-abused kids who live around universities. Most are with non-abused kids who live around universities. Vary in their ecological validity. Vary in their ecological validity. Vary in whether they are balanced to show children’s strengths and weaknesses or primarily focused on showing their weaknesses. Vary in whether they are balanced to show children’s strengths and weaknesses or primarily focused on showing their weaknesses.

17 False negatives are high in many analogue studies Saywitz, K., Goodman, G., Nicholas, E. & Moan. (1991). Children's memory for a genital examination. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology. Saywitz, K., Goodman, G., Nicholas, E. & Moan. (1991). Children's memory for a genital examination. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology. Steward, M. S., Steward, D. S., Farquhar, L., Myers, J., Welker, J., Joye, N., Driskill, J., & Morgan, J. (1996). Interviewing young children about body touch and handling. SRCD. Steward, M. S., Steward, D. S., Farquhar, L., Myers, J., Welker, J., Joye, N., Driskill, J., & Morgan, J. (1996). Interviewing young children about body touch and handling. SRCD. Goodman, G., Quas, J., Batterman-Faunce, J., Riddelsberger, M., & Kuhn, J. (1997). Children's reaction to and memory of a stressful event. Applied Developmental Science. Goodman, G., Quas, J., Batterman-Faunce, J., Riddelsberger, M., & Kuhn, J. (1997). Children's reaction to and memory of a stressful event. Applied Developmental Science.

18 But there is also evidence from analogue studies that children can be coached Clarke-Stewart, A., Thompson, W., & Lapore, S. (1989, April). Manipulating children's interpretations through interrogation. SRCD. Clarke-Stewart, A., Thompson, W., & Lapore, S. (1989, April). Manipulating children's interpretations through interrogation. SRCD. Ceci, S., Huffman, M., Smith, E., & Loftus, E. (1994). Repeatedly thinking about a non-event. Consciousness and Cognition. Ceci, S., Huffman, M., Smith, E., & Loftus, E. (1994). Repeatedly thinking about a non-event. Consciousness and Cognition. Bruck, M., Ceci, S. J., & Hembrooke, H. (2002). The nature of children’s true and false narratives. Developmental Review, 22, 520–554. Bruck, M., Ceci, S. J., & Hembrooke, H. (2002). The nature of children’s true and false narratives. Developmental Review, 22, 520–554. Leichtman, M., & Ceci, S. (1995). Sam Stone. Developmental Psychology. Leichtman, M., & Ceci, S. (1995). Sam Stone. Developmental Psychology.

19 Illustrative Analogue Study Saykaly, Talwar, Lindsay, Bala, & Lee. (2013). Saykaly, Talwar, Lindsay, Bala, & Lee. (2013). The Influence of Multiple Interviews on the Verbal Markers of Children’s Deception. Law & Human Behavior, 37 (3), 187–196. The Influence of Multiple Interviews on the Verbal Markers of Children’s Deception. Law & Human Behavior, 37 (3), 187–196. This study examined what are thought to be characteristics of true and coached (false) reports. This study examined what are thought to be characteristics of true and coached (false) reports. This is a recent study that illustrates the kind of research undertake to demonstrate that children can be coached. This is a recent study that illustrates the kind of research undertake to demonstrate that children can be coached.

20 78 4-11 year old non-abused children; M=7.58 78 4-11 year old non-abused children; M=7.58 Separately each child visited a Research Assistant and played 1 of 3 games for 15 minutes. Separately each child visited a Research Assistant and played 1 of 3 games for 15 minutes. Visited with the research assistant 3 times, with the same protocol. Visited with the research assistant 3 times, with the same protocol. Games: 1. doctor game (ID body parts); 2. guessing game (guess ID of an object on a card); 3. memory game (locate pairs of cards) Games: 1. doctor game (ID body parts); 2. guessing game (guess ID of an object on a card); 3. memory game (locate pairs of cards) After each correct response, the Research Assistant placed a sticker on the child’s arm, hand, knee, or cheek. After each correct response, the Research Assistant placed a sticker on the child’s arm, hand, knee, or cheek.

21 Parents were told to instruct their child to tell a second Research Assistant about the real game they had played but also to instruct the child to falsely state they had played a second game. Parents were told to instruct their child to tell a second Research Assistant about the real game they had played but also to instruct the child to falsely state they had played a second game. Parents were told to drill their child on the false game for 15 minutes before each of three visits by Research Assistant 2. Parents were told to drill their child on the false game for 15 minutes before each of three visits by Research Assistant 2. Researchers questioned the parents to make sure they had followed instructions. Researchers questioned the parents to make sure they had followed instructions.

22 Research on the Interviews by Research Assistant 2 The child interviews were audi recorded and transcribed for analysis The child interviews were audi recorded and transcribed for analysis Variables the researchers coded are ones thought to indicate a true account Variables the researchers coded are ones thought to indicate a true account Cognitive operations—e.g., I know, remember Cognitive operations—e.g., I know, remember Self reference—use of I, we, us. Self reference—use of I, we, us. Spontaneous corrections Spontaneous corrections Temporal markers—contextualizing the event in time Temporal markers—contextualizing the event in time

23 More factors Lack of knowledge—e.g., I don’t remember Lack of knowledge—e.g., I don’t remember Sensori-motor information—e.g., what things tasted like, smelled like, felt like Sensori-motor information—e.g., what things tasted like, smelled like, felt like Spatial information—where things were in the room Spatial information—where things were in the room Affective terms—love, desire Affective terms—love, desire Reproduction of dialogue Reproduction of dialogue Unusual details—idiosyncratic event Unusual details—idiosyncratic event

24 Findings In the children’s first interview, the true allegations had more spontaneous corrections and fewer temporal references. In the children’s first interview, the true allegations had more spontaneous corrections and fewer temporal references. False reports had more admissions of lack of knowledge during the first interview. False reports had more admissions of lack of knowledge during the first interview. Over the two subsequent interviews, which were preceded by additional parental coaching sessions, differences between true and coached reports largely disappeared. Over the two subsequent interviews, which were preceded by additional parental coaching sessions, differences between true and coached reports largely disappeared.

25 Conclusions from the Research False allegations of sexual abuse by children are uncommon. False allegations of sexual abuse by children are uncommon. Most false reports are misinterpretations. Most false reports are misinterpretations. Most false allegations are made by adults. Most false allegations are made by adults. When they are made, they are not usually made by mothers, but rather by non-custodial caretakers or anonymous reporters. When they are made, they are not usually made by mothers, but rather by non-custodial caretakers or anonymous reporters. Coaching of children to make a false allegation is very uncommon, but it can be done. Coaching of children to make a false allegation is very uncommon, but it can be done. The more a child is coached, the more the allegation sounds like a true one. The more a child is coached, the more the allegation sounds like a true one.

26 Strategies for addressing coaching Related to the interview. Related to the interview. Have the child brought by a neutral party. Have the child brought by a neutral party. Have the adult tell the child to tell the truth. Have the adult tell the child to tell the truth. Interview the child without an adult present. Interview the child without an adult present. Rules—Only tell me what really happened. Rules—Only tell me what really happened. Ask the child to promise to tell the truth. Ask the child to promise to tell the truth. Gently challenge—Is that something that really happened or is that pretend? Gently challenge—Is that something that really happened or is that pretend? Query—Is this something that you remember or is this something people talked to you about or told you about? Is that something they talk about in your family? Query—Is this something that you remember or is this something people talked to you about or told you about? Is that something they talk about in your family? Use of media—e.g. draw me a picture of what happened; show me. Use of media—e.g. draw me a picture of what happened; show me. Probe for details and affect. Probe for details and affect.

27 Strategies for addressing coaching External to the interview. External to the interview. Admonish adults not to talk to the child about the allegations. Admonish adults not to talk to the child about the allegations. Put the child in treatment. Put the child in treatment. Ask the adults to go to treatment. Ask the adults to go to treatment. Use mediation with the parents. Use mediation with the parents. Special investigation techniques Special investigation techniques for multi-victim cases for multi-victim cases More directly address contamination. More directly address contamination.

28 QUESTIONS?


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