IPT Book Reviews

Title: Child Eyewitness Testimony in Sexual Abuse Investigations 
Author: Bruce E. Mapes
Publisher: Clinical Psychology Publishing Co., 1995

Clinical Psychology Publishing Co.
4 Conant Square
Brandon, VT 05733
(800) 433-8234

This short (120 pages) book has a cook book quality to it.  It was written primarily for forensic psychologists, although all mental health professionals might profit from it.  Bruce Mapes, a teacher/counselor for disturbed and disabled adolescents, notes that law enforcement and child welfare workers know little about legal evidence or child development and the ambiguity in the field leads to battles between the experts.  Mapes also points out that there is a lack of empirical studies and real world research on the problem of abuse; this gap between researchers and clinicians has been going on for many years.  He raises questions on a variety of issues such as hypnosis, cults, custody disputes, and false allegations by vengeful adolescents.  He emphasizes that the investigator must be neutral and not an advocate.

Despite his recognition of the necessity for neutrality, Maples seems to identify more with victims than with the falsely accused.  Many of the references at the end of the book are not used in the text and the book often appears unbalanced.  The book will only be useful to beginners who want a brief summary of the important issues.

Reviewed by LeRoy G. Schultz, Professor Emeritus, West Virginia University.

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