Department of Psychology
For just over two decades, researchers have been conducting empirical studies devoted to understanding children’s memory for, and ability to describe, individual occurrences of events they have experienced repeatedly. This knowledge is critical because children making allegations of repeated abuse are required to provide details particular to an individual incident in many jurisdictions internationally. Based on this theoretical foundation, we provide specific suggestions to practitioners to assist children in reporting as much information as possible about individual occurrences and techniques that may assist them in doing so accurately. These recommendations cover both presubstantive (i.e., “practice”) and substantive phases of the interview. The particular challenges involved with describing individual incidents of repeated events are discussed, followed by evidence-based guidelines aimed at overcoming these difficulties. The inaugural guidelines we present are not meant as a replacement to existing best practice interviews, but to serve as more detailed procedures in cases of repeated allegations.
Brubacher, S.P., Powell M.B., & Roberts, K.P. (2014). Recommendations for Interviewing Children about Repeated Experiences. Psychology, Public Policy, & Law. 20, 325-335.