Abstract

An analysis of 120 official records was done to show how social workers “prove” that someone committed child abuse. That more than half of the suspects either denied the accusations or were not interviewed in the course of investigations was not much of a limitation, since suspects were routinely defined as “non-credible” witnesses. The only time their testimony was taken seriously was when they agreed with the allegations. Conversely, victims were routinely seen as “credible”witnesses, and their testimony was only rejected when they claimed suspects were innocent. Social workers developed methods for simplifying the labeling process as reflected in official records: Hitting which resulted in an injury was always treated as if it indicated the intention to injure, and behavior commonly known as “sexual” was always treated as if it was identical with the intent to sexually exploit.

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