What Are Interviewing Aids?
The use of interviewing aids to facilitate children's testimony is controversial. Proponents of interviewing aids, such as anatomical dolls and anatomical diagrams, argue they cue memory and help children overcome motivational or language barriers to disclosing by having them "show" rather than "tell" what happened. Interviewing aids are primarily used in two ways: to elicit disclosures and to clarify disclosures. The distinction is important. Using aids to elicit disclosures is more likely to generate false reports.
Today, it is generally accepted that anatomical dolls should not be introduced prior to a disclosure due to the significant risk of eliciting a false report. Many interviewers nevertheless use anatomical diagrams for this purpose. However, there is no evidence that young children can use diagrams at an earlier age than anatomical dolls to communicate touch, or that they produce fewer errors.