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Forensic Interviewing Ragna Guðbrandsdóttir Master in Social work Children´s Advocacy Center in Iceland.

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Presentation on theme: "Forensic Interviewing Ragna Guðbrandsdóttir Master in Social work Children´s Advocacy Center in Iceland."— Presentation transcript:

1 Forensic Interviewing Ragna Guðbrandsdóttir Master in Social work Children´s Advocacy Center in Iceland

2 Objectives The difference between forensic interviewing and therapeutic interviewing Identify the elements of a good interview Identify problematic interview components Explain the importance of rapport-building Describe useful ground rules for interviewing

3 Forensic vs.therapeutic interviewing The goal is discovering the truth, the facts Objective standpoint Alternative explanations are explored Obtaining corroborating details is imperative Establishing the child´s competency is a concern The way information is acquired is strictly governed Expression of emotions in a nurturing environment Advocate who assumes the child is telling the truth Subjective interpretations accepted Nonspecific accounts of abuse are sufficient The credibility of the child is not questioned How information is obtained is not of concern

4 Suggestions for successful interview with a young child Fundamental knowledge of child´s developmental level Use developmentally appropriate language Keep questions simple. Don´t ask more than one question at a time Be sure the child understands the question being asked Calm and supportive presentation Objective stance

5 The child The time of the interview should be aimed at the child´s needs Parents need guidance in how to prepare their children for the interview The location of the interview is important for the child The child has to know who is watching the interview and who has access to the information given

6 Cont. The parents role during the interview The alleged offender´s role Don´t interview a child who has a limited vocabulary; cannot be understood; or is unable to understand basic concepts

7 Forensic interviewing Establish rapport with the child in the beginning of the interview process Introduce ground rules of the interview Assessing a child´s developmental level The main task Why are you here today Closing the interview

8 Rapport building Means the CHILD does most of the talking Serves as an ice-breaker Serves as a practice interview Takes some time; is not hurried Leads to the child providing more information during the substantive part of the interview

9 Techniques for building rapport Tell the child your name and what you do Make sure that the child feels comfortable in the beginning of the interview with easy to answer questions Tell me a little bit about yourself and about your family Name Home School Favorite topics

10 Techniques for building rapport Invite the child to describe a recent event; Birthday Holiday Bedtime Dinner time

11 Rapport building cont. Use open-ended questions: Who What When Where Include open-ended follow-ups that invite the child to keep talking: Tell me more about that I´m really interested. I´d like to hear more. Mm Hmm… Ohhh…

12 Ground rules Tell your name and that your job is to talk to children about things that have happened to them I talk to a lot of children here at the children´s house Today my job is to get to know you a little better and find out about your live Tell the child that the interview is been videotaped so you can remember everything Tell the child who is watching and why Let the child know how the interview is structured and the rules

13 I don't know I might ask some questions that you don´t know the answers to. That´s OK. I don´t expect you to know the answers to all of my questions Say, I don´t know if you don´t know the answer. If you do know the answer, then I want you to tell me the answer. That´s the only way I can help you today. But if you don´t know, just say I don´t know.

14 I don't know cont. Let´s practice that. If I say, what is my dog´s name? You should say...(Wait for answer). That´s right. If you don´t know the answer, just say, I don´t know.

15 I don´t understand If I ask a question that you dont understanda question that sounds kind of weird to you, just say Stop: I don´t understand. Then Ill try to ask the question a different way. I only want you to answer question if you understand it Lets practice that. If I say, How many wogs are in a wug? you should say.... Thats right. If you dont understand the question, say, Stop. I dont understand that question.

16 Repeated questions Sometimes I´ll ask you the same question more than once. That doesn't mean that you gave me the wrong answer. It just means that my memory isnt very good sometimes, so I forget things. If I ask you the same question again, just tell me the truth. Tell me what really happened, even if you already told me. Will you do that?

17 Correct mistakes Sometimes I make mistakes. If I say things that are wrong, I want you to correct me. Practice like with calling the child the wrong name and have them correct you

18 Tell the truth I want you to tell me only what really happened, even if you said something different to somebody else at some other time. Today I want you to tell me only what REALLY happened Don´t tell me anything pretend Don´t guess about things Don´t tell me what someone else told you to say happened It is very important to tell the truth in this room today

19 The Truth/Lies Ceremony I want to be sure you understand the difference between the truth and lie Can you explain the difference to me in your own words Lets take an example, if I say I am a man, is that the truth or a lie? (Wait for answer) If I say I am a woman, is that a lie or the truth? (Wait for answer)

20 The Truth/Lies Ceremony I see that you understand the difference between telling the truth and telling a lie, and that´s very important While we talk today, I want you to tell me only the truth, only things that really happened to you. Will you do that?

21 Assessing a child´s developmental level Where is the child developmentally according to age Assessing general skills; Ability to count Ability to identify colors Ability to name body parts Understanding of basic concepts In/out Up/down Over/under Inside/outside

22 Developmental level cont. Childs understanding of concepts related to the abuse Bigger/smaller Dry/wet Soft/hard

23 Why are you here today? Substantive Free Narrative Let the child know that you are changing the subject to avoid confusion Now that we know each other a little better, I want you to tell me the reason that you are here today

24 Free Narrative cont. Tell me the reason you came to talk to me today. If a child makes an allegation, repeat the allegation and ask for more detail I want you to tell me everything that happened in your own words I will ask you some question to help you tell me I want to hear about all the details that you can remember from the beginning to the end

25 Free Narrative cont. If the first request is not successful, try the following I understand that something has been bothering you. It´s important that you tell me about what has been bothering you This is a place that children can tell if something is bothering them Never force a child to talk

26 Types of Questions Open-ended Closed Leading Misleading Forced-choice Multiple

27 Open-ended Questions Open-ended questions are the best kind of questions from the point of view of evidence and information-gathering Minimizes the risk that the interviewer will impose his/her view of what happened on the interviewee Open-ended questions elicit responses similar to those obtained by free recall which has been found to be the most accurate form of remembering I know that you just moved. Tell me about that?

28 Closed Questions Allows only a relatively narrow range of responses, and the response usually consist of one word or a short phrase Closed questions are the second best type of questions and are good to follow up on open ended responses or free recall What color was his hair?

29 Forced-choice question This type of question leaves interviewees only a small number of alternatives from which they must choose and which may, in fact, not include the correct option. Do you prefer tea, coffee or hot- chocolate?

30 Multiple questions A multiple question is an utterance that asks about several things at once Did you see him? Was he standing? Did he have a coat on? The main problem with this utterance is that people do not know which part of it to answer Prone to create misunderstanding Only ask one question at times

31 Leading and misleading questions The distinction between a leading and misleading questions concerns the nature of the implies response. The prior leads the interviewee to a correct response whereas the latter leads the interviewee to an incorrect response You told your mom that you were scared of him, did you?

32 Closing the Interview Review the main points the child has disclosed or described to you Confirm, for each point separately that you heard the child correctly Tell the child that he or she may remember more details later that you need to know those, too Encourage the child to let someone know if he or she remembers more Ask whether the child has any questions for you Thank the child for talking with you

33 Closing cont. Return to a neutral topic, such as what the child will do after the interview is over, or child´s pets, hobbies, or activities Don´t give the child any promises Prepare them if you think or know that they have to come back for another interview Remember this interview is the first step or the gateway to the child´s recovery

34 Good interviewer behavior Appropriate non-verbal behavior during the interview is just as important for successful interview as the verbal instructions: Sit in a relaxed manner: turn your body somewhat towards the interviewee (10 to 2) Express friendliness and support Use eye contact frequently but do not stare at the interviewee Speak slowly, use short sentences and leave short pauses between sentences

35 Cont. Express attention and interest frequently by nodding, mhm etc. But do not give qualitative feedback (e.g. good, right) Praise the interviewee for his or her effort in general Avoid hectic movements and hectic speech style Do not interrupt Allow for pauses Express patience

36 The Interview room The interview room should not be too big The room should be child friendly with pictures and colors that children like No toys for playing but stuffed animals are OK Furniture in children's sizes if possible Crayons and paper if needed No drinks or food

37 Helpful hints for forensic interviewing Script Good organization or work habits Lot of practice Criticize your own work by looking at videocassettes of your interviews No interview is perfect

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