Title

Suspect Confession of Child Sexual Abuse to Investigators

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 and corroborative evidence. These results suggest the difficulty of obtaining confession but also the value of methods that facilitate child disclosure and seek corroborative evidence, for increasing the odds of confession.

Publication Date

5-2010

Journal Title

Child Maltreatment

Publisher

Sage Publications

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

10.1177/1077559509360251

Document Type

Article

Rights

c The Author(s) 2010 Reprints and permission: sagepub.com/journalsPermissions.nav DOI: 10.1177/1077559509360251