The purpose of Amy Russell's article titled "Out of the Woods: A Case for Using Anatomical Diagrams in Forensic Interviews," is to explain the advantages that come from using anatomical diagrams when interviewing children who have been victims of physical or sexual abuse, or children who have witnessed violent crimes and how that may help create a legally defensive report for the child (Russell 1). The article also mentions how seventeen states use these diagrams as part of their interviewing protocol (Russell 4).
These diagrams, body outlines, body maps, and touch surveys are beneficial when establishing a common ground with young children in regards to terminology and helps interviewers communicate about touch (Russell 1). Another benefit of using the anatomical drawings mentioned in the article is that diagrams help some children disclose sexual abuse and can make the interviewing process much easier and cause less harm. One interesting factor to consider when using anatomical diagrams is that the diagram should be representative of the age and child of the victim, but not of the alleged offender because of susceptibility. It is also more effective to use diagrams with no clothes for interviews involving young children and use diagrams after a sexual abuse disclosure has been made from a teenager (Russell 2-3). .
Most research regarding the use of anatomical diagrams and other tools used to interview children examines the use of them post disclosure. Russell's article suggests that it may be an issue and not as beneficial because in using these diagrams after a child has disclosed sexual abuse can potentially increase the likelihood of recantation. The interviewer who uses a diagram after a disclosure has been made asks specific questions, forcing the child to recall the events that occurred during the abuse. Using fully clothed diagrams with children who are older (5-7 years old) is not beneficial because although they are more developmentally capable of using words to describe where they were touched (if they were victims of sexual abuse; for example), they can also say the abuse did not occur if the diagram is clothed (Russell 3).