Interviewing children who are reluctant to disclose sexual abuse

This project is designed to improve the quality of investigative interviews with children who may have been sexually abused, but are reluctant to disclose it. Professor Lamb and his team developed interview procedures that provided more emotional support than traditional methods, while still focussing on the cognitive factors that allow children to provide detailed accounts of abuse. 

The researchers worked in cooperation with investigative interviewers to analyse forensic interviews with 150 alleged victims of intra-family abuse. They focused on interview dynamics, i.e. the behaviour of the children and interviewers, the children’s informativeness, and the plausibility of the information they provide, verified by independent information about what actually may have happened.

Project details



Professor Michael Lamb, Cambridge University

Funding Programme:

Children and Families

Grant amount and duration:


April 2007 - May 2011



Katz C, Hershkowitz I, Malloy LC, Lamb ME, Atbaki A, Spinderl S (2012). Non-verbal behavior of children who disclose or do not disclose child abuse in investigative interviews. Child Abuse Negl. 36 (1): 12-20 (journal subscription required)


Katz C (2013). Stand by me: The effect of emotional support on children's testimonies. British J Social Work 1-14 (journal subscription required)