ISSN 1753-0849

Childhoods Today Online JournalChildhoods Today

An online journal for childhood studies

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Volume 2 Issue 1 - June 24, 2008

Interviewing young children: protocol, practice and perception in police interviews

Sarah Krähenbühl

Investigative interviewers usually interview children who witness or are victims of alleged criminal activity. Interviewing protocols have been established and revised in order to facilitate these interviews, which provide children’s evidence-in-chief for use in subsequent legal proceedings. Within these interviews some questions may be repeated which research has shown may lead to a change in the child’s subsequent response. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with four police interviewers to discuss their perception of their own interviewing practices, specifically in respect to the use of question repetition. A discrepancy was found between interviewing protocol guidance and implementation, and also between interviewers perceptions of their behaviour and actual interviewing practice. The implications for interviewing and interviewers are discussed.