Trends in children's disclosure of abuse in Israel: A national study

Irit Hershkowitz, Dvora Horowitz, Michael E. Lamb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To identify characteristics of suspected child abuse victims that are associated with disclosure and nondisclosure during formal investigations. Methodology: The database included all suspected cases of physical and sexual abuse investigated in the state of Israel between 1998 and 2002. All investigative interviews were conducted using a single standardized protocol, the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) Investigative Interview Protocol. Findings: Overall, 65% of the 26,446 children made allegations when interviewed, but rates of disclosure were greater in the case of sexual (71%) than physical (61%) abuse. Children of all ages were less likely to disclose/allege abuse when a parent was the suspected perpetrator. Rates of disclosure/allegation increased as children grew older, with 50% of the 3- to 6-year-olds, 67% of the 7- to 10-year-olds, and 74% of the 11- to 14-year-olds disclosing abuse when questioned. Conclusions: Although most interviews of suspected victims yielded allegations, such rates of disclosure varied systematically depending on the nature of the alleged offences, the relationship between alleged victims and suspected perpetrators, and the age of the suspected victims. The findings obtained in this large and unselected data set confirm patterns previously reported in smaller and quite selective samples, most of them obtained in the United States.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1203-1214
Number of pages12
JournalChild Abuse and Neglect
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2005

Bibliographical note

For commentary on this article see: Poole, D. A., & Dikinson, J. J. (2005). The future of the protocol movement: Commentary on Hershkowitz, Horowitz, & Lamb, 2005. Child Abuse & Neglect, 29, 1215-1217.


  • Abuse allegations
  • Disclosure/ nondisclosure
  • Investigative interview protocols

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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