Description: This book provides working guidelines on how to communicate appropriately with children who allegedly have been sexually abused.
Purpose: The authors' intent is to provide information on what linguistic abilities professionals can expect from children of varying ages and backgrounds, and how to interface this knowledge with current best practice interviewing methods.
Audience: The target audience is pediatricians and child psychologists. This book is also pertinent for interview specialists in police departments, child protection service units, the sexual assault field, and emergency departments.
Features: The subject areas that were particularly well covered were how to establish rapport and the child's vocabulary. Instructions on adjusting the interviewer's words when trying to elicit the fullest account from children in a non-leading fashion were featured in a "do/don't" table format. The authors also did a commendable job in addressing the language skills of special needs children.
Assessment: This book offers practical working guidelines to a variety of professionals in the field on how to communicate effectively and appropriately with children of varying ages and backgrounds. It focuses in depth on individual aspects of language use at each of the interviewing phases. The "how to" of eliciting information about such things as truth versus lie, or fact from fantasy, are extremely helpful in arriving at the child's fullest account about an abusive event. Any practitioner, no matter how experienced, would improve her effectiveness as a questioner of children after reading this book.