Have you ever watched a child cry when a dog dies in a film? Have you ever listened to a child tell you about their conversations with their friend Billy, only to discover Billy is a stuffed rabbit? If you have, you will know that children can sometimes confuse fact with fantasy.
As touching as a child’s ability to believe in things that are not real can be, sadly, it means that a lot of people end up in court accused of abuse that simply never happened. Whether the story came from the child’s imagination or was put there by someone else, it is not always easy to distinguish truth from fiction, not only for a court but also for the child.
If you are accused of abusing a child, your case may boil down to the child’s word against yours. When allegations surface, a trained professional such as a social worker may conduct a forensic interview that is recorded and could be used as evidence.
Forensic interviews aim to reduce the possibility of interviewers asking leading questions or directing a child towards a certain answer. They should be appropriate to the age of the particular child.
Nevertheless, not all forensic interviews are reliable. Some interviewers do ask leading questions, encourage a child toward a specific outcome or use questions inappropriate for the child’s stage of development.
If you are falsely accused of abusing a child, it is vital that your attorney understands the weaknesses in forensic interviewing and can discover any faults with the interview process or any flaws in the child’s story.