Clinical and Forensic Interviews in Child Sexual Abuse Allegations in South Africa: Literary Reflections on the Roles of Practitioners




child sexual abuse, clinical interviews, forensic interviews, clinical social worker, forensic social worker, South Africa


Very few universities in South Africa offer postgraduate training on forensic social work, hampering the ability of social workers to conduct forensic interviews. This article is birthed by concerns raised by professionals (in particular, social workers) regarding their roles during the interviews with children alleged to be sexually abused. Professionals from across disciplines such as social workers, mental health practitioners, police officers and psychologists are involved in interviews with child victims of sexual abuse. In this conceptual article, we argue that each of these professionals must be vigilant about their roles and responsibilities when interviewing victims of child sexual abuse because if they conduct forensic interviews without proper knowledge of doing so, the prosecution and conviction of perpetrators might be compromised. The focus of this article is within the context of social work with an attempt to differentiate between the roles of forensic social workers and clinical social workers dealing with child sexual abuse allegations in South Africa. Forensic social work training and practice in South Africa is still a developing field of specialisation which requires experts to have generic social work interviewing skills. There have not been studies in South Africa that intensively focus on the difference between clinical and forensic interviews. We conducted an extensive and integrative review of literature as a research method to pursue the purpose of this article.


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How to Cite

Rapholo, Frank, and Zibonele Zimba. 2022. “Clinical and Forensic Interviews in Child Sexual Abuse Allegations in South Africa: Literary Reflections on the Roles of Practitioners”. Southern African Journal of Social Work and Social Development 34 (2):16 pages.



Received 2020-09-23
Accepted 2022-02-12
Published 2022-08-25