Department of Psychology
Police interviews (n = 97) with 5- to 13-year-olds alleging multiple incidents of sexual abuse were examined to determine how interviewers elicited and children recounted specific instances of abuse. Coders assessed the labels for individual occurrences that arose in interviews, recording who generated them, how they were used, and other devices to aid particularisation such as the use of episodic and generic language. Interviewers used significantly more temporal labels than did children. With age, children were more likely to generate labels themselves, but most children generated at least one label. In 66% of the cases, interviewers ignored or replaced children’s labels, and when they did so, children reported proportionately fewer episodic details. Children were highly responsive to the interviewers’ language style. Results indicate that appropriately trained interviewers can help children of all ages to provide the specific details often necessary to ensure successful prosecution.
Brubacher, S. P., Malloy, L. C., Lamb, M. E. and Roberts, K. P. (2013), How Do Interviewers and Children Discuss Individual Occurrences of Alleged Repeated Abuse in Forensic Interviews?. Appl. Cognit. Psychol., 27: 443–450. doi: 10.1002/acp.2920