ICELAND: The Ability of Victims of Childhood Sexual Abuse to Give Evidence

Summary: This document is the result of a study that aimed at showing how the age of suspected child victims of sexual abuse can have an impact on their testimony during questioning.

The main objective of the study was to further the understanding of age-related differences in children’s ability to give an account of suspected sexual abuse during questioning. Video recordings of 285 Investigative Interviews referred by police and judges to the Children’s House in Reykjavik over a five-year period were analysed. The great majority of the youngest children (3½–5 years), and almost all of the older children, had the basic abilities to give testimony, although there were major age-related differences in their understanding of why they were being interviewed, their ability to answer open-ended questions about the suspected abuse, describe the immediate antecedents, conversation with the perpetrator, events immediately after the abuse, and ability to sustain concentration during the interview. The findings show that the interview technique used in the Children’s House, which is based on Child Advocacy Model principles and protocol, is being used effectively in Iceland.

Owner: Gisli Gudjonsson, Thorbjorg Sveinsdottir, Jon Fridrik Sigurdsson, Johanna Jonsdottirpdf:


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