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A call to improve the validity of criterion-based content analysis (CBCA): Results from a field-based study including 60 children's statements of sexual abuse

Welle, Ida
Berclaz, Michel
Lacasa, Marie-Josée
Published in Journal of Forensic and Legal Medicine. 2016, vol. 43, p. 111-119
Abstract The growing awareness of sexually-abused children has led to a major shift: previously considered untrustworthy, children are now regarded as competent in providing medico-legal evidence. Professionals undertaking the challenging task of assessing the child's credibility need to rely upon approved evaluation methods. The Criteria-Based Content Analysis is a tool developed to assess the truthfulness of a child's verbal statement. This field-based study explores its validity and its limitations. Three independent experts rated the verbatim statements of 60 real-life alleged victims of sexual abuse. The CBCA scoring and final assessment of credibility were linked to the outcomes: confirmed or unconfirmed allegation of sexual abuse. Inter-rater reliability coefficient was 0.74. The average overall accuracy rate corresponding to confirmed and unconfirmed cases was 75%. Among the confirmed allegations, the accuracy rate reached 90%, whereas the probability of discriminating the true negative cases within the unconfirmed cases was lower than chance level. Of all the 19 criteria, items 6 "Reproduction of conversation" and 12 "Accounts of subjective mental state" were the strongest predictors of genuine accounts. A significant association between age and CBCA scores was noted, the effect of age on CBCA scores was strongest in the unconfirmed cases. Although some may argue that the validity of the CBCA is reasonably acceptable, results from this field study are less convincing. Increasing the diagnostic accuracy of the CBCA by adding new criteria, so as to raise the percentage of correct classifications in the confirmed accounts as well as in the unconfirmed accounts, would represent a major improvement.
Keywords AdolescentChildChild Abuse, Sexual/diagnosis/legislation & jurisprudenceChild, PreschoolDeceptionFemaleForensic PsychiatryHumansInterviews as Topic/standardsMaleMental RecallReproducibility of ResultsSwitzerland
PMID: 27570234
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WELLE, Ida et al. A call to improve the validity of criterion-based content analysis (CBCA): Results from a field-based study including 60 children's statements of sexual abuse. In: Journal of Forensic and Legal Medicine, 2016, vol. 43, p. 111-119. doi: 10.1016/j.jflm.2016.08.001 https://archive-ouverte.unige.ch/unige:111157

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Deposited on : 2018-11-21

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