The Danger of Anatomically Correct Dolls in Sexual Abuse Allegations

In building a solid defense against false child sexual abuse allegations, you must explore every possible way to solidify your case.

These false claims have already likely turned your life upside down, and you’ll need to make things right by clearing your name. Yes, it’s going to necessitate plenty of emotional strength on your part, as well as finding quality legal representation to mount evidence in your favor.

It’s a touchy subject for many people, but false allegations of child abuse are made for many reasons.

To overcome the severity of these accusations, you must scrutinize every aspect of how it all came to light. For example, the use of anatomically correct dolls in sexual abuse investigations is a process with cracks in its foundation. While evidence obtained from the use of anatomical dolls can be admissible in legal proceedings under specific circumstances, it’s also entirely possible to discredit this diagnostic evaluation method.

Why Are Anatomically Correct Dolls Being Used in Sexual Abuse Allegations?

There is validity to the notion that younger sexually abused children (usually under 7) will have an easier time communicating a trauma with the help of an anatomically correct doll. This method is used to verify or refute allegations of child sexual abuse. (George M. Realmuto, M.D., Jonathan B. Jensen, M.D., and Sibyl Wescoe, M.D., “Specificity and Sensitivity of Sexually Anatomically Correct Dolls in Substantiating Abuse: A Pilot Study,” J. Am.Acad.Child Adolesc. Psychiatry, 29:5, September 1990.)

The study explains that expert testimony is frequently based on conclusions reached solely through the findings of a child interview utilizing the dolls.

What’s the reasoning for the law enforcement’s normalizing and validating of this process?

It’s because there is a difference in how abused and non-abused children might engage with the dolls. But research still isn’t definitive on this topic, and it remains in limbo as something of a gray area.

For instance, while this kind of evidence is admissible in the California legal system, it has a history of being challenging to admit. Still, it’s not impossible or even improbable for this manner of testimony to hold weight.

What if the Results of Anatomic Doll Evaluations Are the Only Evidence?

The best way to negate the evidence of child abuse conjured from evaluations that used anatomically correct dolls is to find ways to attack how the dolls are used.

If evidence derived from the use of an anatomical doll is just one of many other pieces of evidence corroborating an allegation of sexual abuse, the task of discrediting the utilization of the anatomically correct doll becomes trickier.

The glaring weak point of the use of anatomical dolls as an investigative and diagnostic toll is when it’s the source of the primary or sole piece of evidence of child sexual abuse. There are too many factors involved that make the technique fallible.

Who Conducted the Interview, and How Did They Do It?

In the article referenced above, there was research done with one evaluator. Keep in mind, this individual was a mental health professional.

Even in their trained hands, using these dolls as a lone piece of evidence of sexual abuse led to a higher rate of false positives, at 67%. That’s an extremely high false positive rate.

One main problem with these evaluations is with who is performing the interview of the minor using the anatomical doll and how they conduct the interview.

We want to learn as much as possible about the qualifications of the individual who performed used the doll and steps taken during the interview. Was the interviewer suitably qualified to perform such an interview? Did he or she take the necessary precautions to ensure the child wasn’t externally influenced?

Without the right level of expertise, interviewers can be overly suggestive about coaxing an answer they wish to hear. Accurately obtaining this kind of information from a smaller child who likely doesn’t fully grasp the situation necessitates the knowledge of high-level practitioners.

Leave No Stone Unturned When Mounting Your Defense

Child sexual abuse allegations are too grave to not consider every potential avenue that will clear your name. You didn't do anything wrong. It's only right for you to do everything possible to prevent false accusations from upending your life.