Evaluating Children Suspected of Having Been Sexually Abused: The APSAC
Study Guides 2
|| Kathleen Coulborn Faller
||Sage Publications, Inc., ©1996
2455 Teller Rd.
Thousand Oaks, CA 91320
$95.00 (p) (includes testing for seven continuing education credits).
The study guide and the accompanying knowledge tests in this 100-page book are intended to provide critical knowledge in selected areas of
child maltreatment. This is the second volume in a series which is
intended to fulfill legal requirements for continuing education. These
guides are produced by the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children
(APSAC). (See the preceding review of the study guide by
Quinsey and Lalummiėre).
The chapter topics in this study guide include models, objectivity,
interviews, documentation, tests, questions, anatomical dolls, very
young children, witnesses, false allegations, and validity criteria.
Faller summarizes selected research articles and indicates that social
workers, investigators, and therapists have the duty to keep current
with the literature. This is a difficult task in that there have been
approximately 15,000 books and articles on these topics in the past ten
years. The book appears directed toward masters level social workers and
mental health professionals rather than child protection workers.
Several controversial areas are left unmentioned, such as sibling
incest, abuse of boys, recovered memory claims, trauma caused by the
investigation, backlash issues, and family mediation. The chapters on
false allegations and on the criteria for determining whether an
allegation is valid are of interest, but readers hoping for an easy
answer will be disappointed, as the book indicates just how difficult
and complex the problem is. Confusion between cause and correlation and
vague phrases such as ''associated with'' and ''consistent with'' are
often found in the research literature on assessing children suspected
of being abused. Most annoying is Faller's belief that not all
interviews with children should be videotaped. It is now generally
accepted among both legal and mental health professionals that all
investigatory interviews of children be taped; the only exceptions are
This study guide is recommended only for beginners.
Reviewed by LeRoy G. Schultz, Professor Emeritus, West