THE SUITABILITY OF THE ROBERTS APPERCEPTION TEST FOR CHILDREN (RATC), THE HOUSE-TREE-PERSON (H-T-P) AND DRAW-A-PERSON (D-A-P) SCALES IN THE IDENTIFICATION OF CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE IN THE INDIAN COMMUNITY: AN EXPLORATORY STUDY

  • AE Louw Department of Psychology University of the Free State Bloemfontein South Africa
  • S Ramkisson Department of Psychology University of the Free State Bloemfontein South Africa

Abstract

Determining whether a child has been sexually abused is both a challenging and daunting task, since errors in this regard could have far-reaching implications. Adding to the dilemma of distinguishing between the abused and non-abused child is the fact that there is no single psychological measuring instrument to aid the forensic evaluator in this task. However, recently there have been attempts to either develop certain measures for specific use in child sexual abuse investigations or to determine the suitability of existing measures in this regard. The aim of this study was to determine the suitability of the Roberts Apperception Test for Children (RATC), the House-Tree-Person (H-T-P) test and the Draw-A-Person (D-A-P) test as measures of sexual abuse assessment in South African children. As there is particularly a lack of information in certain subcultures, this study focused on the Indian community. The research participants included 23 sexually abused girls and 17 non-sexually abused girls mostly from foster homes in KwaZulu-Natal. The results revealed that the two groups differed significantly on the four scales of the H-T-P/D-A-P, whereas there were no differences in the scale scores on the RATC. However, a larger proportion of girls who were sexually abused, gave responses of a sexual nature on the RATC. It was concluded that both these instruments seem to be suitable for inclusion in an assessment battery for sexual abuse investigations in Indian girls. It was also emphasised that none of the instruments can be used in isolation. However, they can provide an indication of possible sexual abuse which must be investigated further.

Southern African Jnl Child and Adolescent Mental Health Vol.14(2) 2002:91-106
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