Many studies have systematically explored the association between interviewing conditions and the quantity and quality of information retrieved by child-witnesses in both laboratory and forensic settings. Because alleged victims are often the only available source of information, this study aims to investigate the interactional dynamics of question-response in the allegations of child sexual abuse, with particular attention to the role of age of the child in this process. Transcripts of 76 forensic interviews of alleged victims between the ages of 4 and 17 years were analyzed: each testimony was divided into utterances that were coded according to the format of question and response. Our results showed that closed-ended questions (yes/no questions) are the most used in the interviews and that there are age differences in the way the interviews are managed and in the quality of the information obtained. In particular, preschool children seem to have the greatest difficulty in entering into the interaction process of the forensic interview.
Keywords: Child sexual abuse, forensic interview, child testimony, research interview.