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Vulnerable children and their right to be heard Ann-Christin Cederborg Professor and Head of the department: Child and Youth Studies, Stockholm university.

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Presentation on theme: "Vulnerable children and their right to be heard Ann-Christin Cederborg Professor and Head of the department: Child and Youth Studies, Stockholm university."— Presentation transcript:

1 Vulnerable children and their right to be heard Ann-Christin Cederborg Professor and Head of the department: Child and Youth Studies, Stockholm university

2 Vulnerable children  Children exposed to:  Sexual and physical abuse  Sex trade (trafficking)  Bullying  Children seeking asylum  Neglected children  Children with psychological problems  Children committing serious crimes Ann-Christin Cederborg 2

3 Girl’s exposed to sex trade  Serious social problem Difficulties with prosecution of traffickers  One reason victims’ reluctance to cooperate with authorities Ann-Christin Cederborg 3

4 Children exposed to sex trade Lindholm, J., Cederborg A-C. & Alm, C. (2014). Adolescent Girls Exploited in the Sex Trade: Informativeness and Evasiveness in Investigative Interviews. Police Practice and Research: An International Journal (in press) Ann-Christin Cederborg 4

5 Aim We do not enough about how to interview exploited children: This study investigates how girls respond to questions about the sex trade with respect to the quality of questions asked Ann-Christin Cederborg 5

6 Quality of question types Open questions: Invitations prompt children to freely recall information.  ”Tell me what happened” Directive questions openly focus on details already mentioned  ”When did you leave Sweden” Ann-Christin Cederborg 6

7 Question types Focused questions Leading questions focus on details or aspects not previously mentioned, asking to affirm, negate or select given options:  ”Do you know anyone here in Sweden” Suggestive questions assume details that have not been disclosed by the child strongly communicating what response is expected:  ” What did you tell your parents before you went to Sweden” Ann-Christin Cederborg 7

8 Quality of responses Disclosures:  Request conforming, Agreements, Disagreements, Extended task related Non-disclosures:  No answer, evasive responses Ann-Christin Cederborg 8

9 Result Quantitative analyses  Disclosures five times more frequent than non- disclosures.  Request-conforming most common  More than 50% of the question asked were not recommended leading and suggestive questions. Ann-Christin Cederborg 9

10 Reason  Victims may fear reprisals  Are under the trafficker’s control  Loyalty towards their trafficker  Disloyal with Law Enforcement  Do not believe the trafficker will be prosecuted Ann-Christin Cederborg 10

11 Results Disclosures involved a large number of yes and no responses implying that few details of legal importance were elicited Ann-Christin Cederborg 11

12 Victims  Victims exposed to severe abuse or are in the traffickers’ control are the least likely to disclose information  Have feelings of guilt and shame  Fear of reprimands  Feelings of co-responsibility Ann-Christin Cederborg 12

13 Evasive responses The girls avoid disclosing information about crime specific details:  involvement in the sex trade  their relations to persons involved in the crime Ann-Christin Cederborg 13

14 Case specific details Not motivated to disclose:  Time laps between the period of exploitation and the conducting of the police interviews  Exposure of high level of violence, abuse and force  Interviews together with the perpetrator Ann-Christin Cederborg 14

15 Novel insights  Further the knowledge about each girl’s personal style to disclose information  Police officers can facilitate disclosure by avoiding criticism, confrontations and leading questions. They should also avoid suggestive prompts Ann-Christin Cederborg 15

16 Asylum seeking minors in interpreter- mediated interviews Objectives  Explore the extent to which the minors- informativeness was effected by the quality of the information seeking prompts  Examine how accurately the interpreter managed to transmit substantial information provided by the minors Ann-Christin Cederborg 16

17 A quantitative analysis Of:  the translated questions asked by the officials  the minors’ responses to them  the accuracy with which the minors’ responses were rendered Ann-Christin Cederborg 17

18 Question types Open questions:  Invitations  Directive questions Focused questions:  Leading questions  Suggestive utterances Ann-Christin Cederborg 18

19 Minors’ responses Disclosure  request conforming  extended task-related  disagreements and agreements Non-disclosure  evasive  absence of responses Ann-Christin Cederborg 19

20 Translations of the minors’ responses  close approximation of what the child said  summary  expanded  divergent  non-rendition  silence Ann-Christin Cederborg 20

21 Result Provision of responses:  were disclosures  262 non-disclosures Ann-Christin Cederborg 21

22 Result Type of disclosures varied depending on type of question asked:  Open questions (invitations and directives) elicited higher level of request conforming responses compared to focused questions  Focused questions (leading and suggestive) elicited more of agreements, disagreements and extended responses Ann-Christin Cederborg 22

23 Renditions  Accurate renditions 76%  Inaccurate renditions 16%  Non renditions 8% Ann-Christin Cederborg 23

24 Minors withhold specific facts Especially when asked to:  reveal information about ID papers  location of the smuggler  orphanage  home  parents’ identities and whereabouts  time of events that could provide information for child’s age estimation  smugglers’ and helpers’ identity Ann-Christin Cederborg 24

25 Active participants  Seldom gave no answers  Elaborated on their answers  Tried to provide alternative accounts when disagreeing with options given  Elaborated on their responses when they agreed with the options provided Ann-Christin Cederborg 25

26 Interpreter  All inaccurate renditions were sources of concern:  Each could negatively affect the quality of information provided to the Migration authorities  For example when they improved on or ignored the style and semantic choices made by the minors Ann-Christin Cederborg 26

27 Interpreter-mediated asylum hearings in Sweden Keselman, O., Cederborg, A-C., Lamb, M.E., & Dahlström, Ö. (2008). Mediated communication with minors in asylum- seeking hearings. Journal of Refugee Studies. 21,1, Keselman, O., Cederborg, A-C., Lamb, M.E., & Dahlström, Ö. (2010a). Asylum seeking minors in interpreter-mediated interviews: what do they say and what happens to their responses? Child & Family Social Work. 15, Keselman, O., Cederborg, A-C., & Linell, P. (2010b) “That is not necessary for you to know!” Negotiation of participation status of unaccompanied children in interpreter-mediated asylum hearings. Interpreting. International Journal of Research and Practice in Interpreting. 12:1, Kelselman, O. (2009). Restricting participation. Unaccompanied children in interpreter-mediated asylum hearings in Sweden. Dissertation Linköping University Ann-Christin Cederborg 27

28 Overall findings  Interpreters can profoundly influence the fact finding aspects of asylum investigations  Migration authorities have to increase their awareness of how the minors’ disclosures can be influenced by the questions asked Ann-Christin Cederborg 28

29 Conclusion Vulnerable children’s right to be heard is obvious but: Their motivation to report may vary Irrespectively, the interviews have to be performed in such a way that the minors are given best possible prerequisites to give their perspective. Ann-Christin Cederborg 29


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