Children's Narratives of Alleged Child Sexual Abuse Offender Behaviors and the Manipulation Process

Carmit Katz, Zion Barnetz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The aim of the current study is to examine offender behaviors and manipulation tactics described by children using a mixed method analysis. Method: The sample consisted of 95 randomly selected investigative interviews with children (aged 5 to 13 years) in which external evidence indicated a high probability that abuse occurred. An initial qualitative phase that aimed to identify key offender behaviors and manipulation tactics was followed by a quantitative phase, which explored the frequency of these tactics and their relations to children and abuse characteristics. Results: In the qualitative phase, the children described the emotional rapport offenders exhibited with them, the manipulation of their families, and the use of temptation and coercion immediately before or after the abuse. In the quantitative analysis, the establishment of emotional rapport and manipulation of the families were the most frequent offender behaviors. Girls more frequently reported emotional rapport, and children who experienced multiple incidents reported the manipulation of families more often. Conclusions: In the current study the children's reports focused more on the establishment of rapport and threats to family members and less on the offering of temptations than past research on offenders' descriptions of manipulation tactics. This suggests children focus more on the interpersonal aspects of offenders' manipulation efforts, and this could be a focus of investigation and intervention. Moreover, these interpersonal aspects strengthen previous studies regarding the importance of communities in the prevention of child abuse. Communities must be a central component in understanding children's safety and well-being.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)223-232
Number of pages10
JournalPsychology of Violence
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2016


  • Child sexual abuse
  • investigative interviews
  • mixed methods
  • offenders' behavior
  • offenders'manipulation

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health(social science)
  • Social Psychology
  • Applied Psychology


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