Repeated Interviews With Children Who Are the Alleged Victims of Sexual Abuse

Carmit Katz, Irit Hershkowitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: The present study was designed to test the effects of repeated retrievals in the course of forensic investigations with children who are the alleged victims of sexual abuse. Method: Using the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development protocol, 56 children participated in a first free-recall interview that was followed by a second interview composed of a repeated free-recall phase that was then followed by closed questions. Results: In the second interview, children reported 58% new forensically relevant details. Increased production in the repeated retrieval was especially marked for younger children and for children who provided poor narratives in their first interview. Conclusion: This study provides practical guidelines for social work practitioners. The study stresses the importance of repeated retrieval when interviewing children on alleged abuse. The results of the current study emphasize that the first retrieval from memory in never enough. Rather, repeated open-ended questioning can produce richer narratives from children that contain forensically relevant information.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)210-218
Number of pages9
JournalResearch on Social Work Practice
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2013


  • child sexual abuse
  • hypermnesia
  • investigative interviews
  • reminiscence
  • repeated interviews

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • General Psychology


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