Anatomical dolls

Anatomically correct or anatomically detailed dolls are often used during forensic interviewing of children as part of the investigation of child sexual abuse allegations. It is thought that anatomically detailed dolls facilitate disclosure of sexual abuse by enabling children to demonstrate acts that may be difficult to verbalize or by promoting memory retrieval. Anatomically correct dolls may also serve as models for assessing children’s names for body parts or bodily functions. Despite these potential benefits, their use has not been standardized and research indicates that the dolls do not reliably improve the amount or quality of information that children provide. Further, children’s behavioral enactments with the doll may be ambiguous and do not differentiate sexually abused children from non-sexually abused children. In view of the conflicting opinions surrounding the use of anatomically correct dolls, it is necessary to exercise caution when interpreting information obtained through this method.

As part of his training in the forensic interviewing of children, Dr. Daniel Swerdlow-Freed is well informed about the use of anatomically correct dolls. His extensive knowledge of this subject enables him to provide research-based testimony about the potential benefits and risks associated with this interview procedure. Attorneys depend on Dr. Swerdlow-Freed’s advice to plan trial strategy, and judges and jurors rely on his testimony when evaluating evidence of child sexual abuse obtained through the use of anatomical dolls.


Dr. Swerdlow-Freed can provide research-based testimony regarding:

  • Anatomically correct dolls
  • Inappropriate uses of anatomically detailed dolls
  • Interpreting children’s behavior with anatomically correct dolls
  • Training of forensic interviewers to use anatomically detailed dolls
  • Use of interview aids, including body maps and drawings
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