Visiting the scene of the crime: Effects on children's recall of alleged abuse

Irit Hershkowitz, Yael Orbach, Michael E. Lamb, Kathleen J. Sternberg, Dvora Horowitz, Meir Hovav

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose. The study was designed to determine whether the contextual cues provided by visits to the scene of alleged incidents would facilitate the recall of information by alleged victims of child sexual abuse. Methods. Fifty-one 4- to 13-year-old children who had reported being victims of sexual abuse were interviewed in an investigator's office and then at the scene of the alleged abuse. Analyses focused on the effects of age, number of reported incidents, familiarity of the scene, familiarity of the alleged perpetrator and delay between incident and interview on the number of details provided in the office interview and at the scene. Results. On average, the children reported 304.1 details, with 23 per cent of these provided at the scene. Contrary to prediction, contextual cues were not more effective for younger children, when the scene or alleged perpetrator were unfamiliar, or when the delay between alleged incident and interview was longer. Conclusions. Physical context reinstatement did appear to elicit additional details from alleged victims and facilitated the investigators' efforts to visualize and understand the alleged events. Many specific predictions about the role of contextual cues were not supported by the data, however.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)195-207
Number of pages13
JournalLegal and Criminological Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Applied Psychology


Dive into the research topics of 'Visiting the scene of the crime: Effects on children's recall of alleged abuse'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this