BACKGROUND: The empirical and theoretical literature on children's autobiographical statements about child sexual abuse and other forms of maltreatment should be of potential importance to all professionals who regularly interview children as part of their professional duties.
AIMS: To present an introduction to this field.
METHODS: Narrative review.
RESULTS: Preschool children appear to be capable of providing reliable testimony on highly salient personal experiences such as sexual abuse, though a substantial proportion of children may choose not to. However, suggestive interviewing practises, particularly when used with younger children, may elicit false allegations. There is little evidence to suggest that experiences from the preverbal period of life can later be meaningfully reconstructed by means of statements or clinical signs.
CONCLUSIONS: Use of children as witnesses and informants requires special considerations, knowledge and skills.
2009. Vol. 63, no 6