Suspect confession of child sexual abuse to investigators

Tonya Lippert, Theodore P. Cross, Lisa Jones, Wendy Walsh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Increasing the number of suspects who give true confessions of sexual abuse serves justice and reduces the burden of the criminal justice process on child victims. With data from four communities, this study examined confession rates and predictors of confession of child sexual abuse over the course of criminal investigations (final N = 282). Overall, 30% of suspects confessed partially or fully to the crime. This rate was consistent across the communities and is very similar to the rates of suspect confession of child sexual abuse found by previous research, although lower than that from a study focused on a community with a vigorous practice of polygraph testing. In a multivariate analysis, confession was more likely when suspects were younger and when more evidence of abuse was available, particularly child disclosure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)161-170
Number of pages10
JournalChild Maltreatment
Volume15
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2010

Keywords

  • Child sexual abuse
  • Children's advocacy centers
  • Confession
  • Criminal justice
  • Disclosure
  • Evidence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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