Dec. 10, 2017

“Controversy over the credibility of children’s testimony has congealed into a debate between those who demand that we ‘believe the children’ no matter how outlandish their allegations and those who maintain that children are inherently so suggestible that their testimony can never be relied on upon. An interesting question that remains is why children are not believed when, as often happens, they specifically deny charges at the time they first arise….

“Why isn’t the child allowed to say no? A widening body of research shows that repeated questioning of children, especially by authoritative adults with a specific bias, will often lead to answers that conform to the interviewers’ expectations….

“Divorce, neglect, unsafe neighborhoods, bad schools – these primary social problems are not the fault of the people to whom we have entrusted our children. Forcing children to invent stories of abuse is abuse….”

– From “Child-care Demons” by Lawrence Wright in The New Yorker (Oct. 3, 1994)