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Department of Psychology


The purpose of the present study was to elicit guidance from prosecutors across Australia on questioning children about repeated events. Two focus groups were conducted; the first sought broad feedback concerning questioning children about repeated events. The second focused more specifically on eliciting feedback about techniques for aiding children in describing specific instances of repeated events. These techniques were derived either from empirical research, best practice interview guidelines, or both. Data from both focus groups were compiled because themes were highly similar. Thematic analysis of the focus group discussions revealed three broad themes in prosecutors’ perceptions about questioning children about repeated abuse: a) permitting children to provide a full generic account before describing individual episodes of abuse, b) using the information obtained during the generic account to create episode labels, and c) probing incidences of abuse chronologically. These themes are discussed within the context of the child development and mnemonic literature, and implications for interviewing protocols are drawn.


This article first appeared in Psychiatry, Psychology, & Law, vol. 24, iss. 1, 2017.