Sunday, 24 February 2008

Black Faeries

Sarah:Ow ! It bit me !
Hoggle:What’d you expect fairies to do ?
Sarah:I thought they did nice things, like granting wishes !
Hoggle:Shows what you know, don’t it ?
Labyrinth (1986)

“I believe in everything until it’s disproved. So I believe in fairies, the myths, dragons. It all exists, even if it’s in your mind. Who’s to say that dreams and nightmares aren’t as real as the here and now.”
John Lennon (1940-1980)

Young children generally are not incapable of maintaining a credible story of abuse. During interviewing and therapy, a child quickly learns what the interviewer (an authority figure) expects.

Answers are continually reinforced over a period of time and, in many cases, a child is rehearsed on their version of events. In many cases, a child comes to believe the allegation based upon the positive reinforcement they receive; inconsistencies in a child’s testimony are overlooked due to ‘trauma’.

A child’s memory is not similar to an adult’s in collecting and processing events. A child’s cognitive ability to understand events is significantly different than an adult’s. How a child internalizes events is different than an adult’s and results in significant differences.

Children are more suggestible than an adult. Young children believe in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, etc. Not only will the child appear credible when they talk about imaginary persons, they have been led and reinforced to believe in them. The same process can and does happen in regards to abuse allegations.

Behavioural Indicators are not accepted by most professionals as invaluable in determining whether a child has been a victim of abuse. There are no behaviors that are indicative of abuse. Behaviours cited by some so-called experts are attributed to a whole host of other things (equally competing hypothesis). In fact, several proponents of Behavioural Indicators have now reversed their views.

The difference between Credibility v Reliability is, credibility deals with whether the person appears competent to testify. Reliability deals with whether the person’s statements can be relied upon as being factual. A child witness can appear credible in their testimony, yet their statements may not be reliable because their statements have been tainted by outside sources such as the investigators, therapists and so on. A child could appear credible when they testify to the existence of the Tooth Fairy, yet we know the statement is not reliable. The same can and does happen in child abuse cases.

Your survival is based on your ability to educate yourself and take an active part in your own defence.