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What makes a good investigative interviewer of children? A comparison of police officers' and experts; perceptions

Wright, Rebecca and Powell, Martine 2007, What makes a good investigative interviewer of children? A comparison of police officers' and experts; perceptions, Policing : an international journal of police strategies & management., vol. 30, no. 1, pp. 21-31, doi: 10.1108/13639510710725604.

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Title What makes a good investigative interviewer of children? A comparison of police officers' and experts; perceptions
Author(s) Wright, Rebecca
Powell, MartineORCID iD for Powell, Martine orcid.org/0000-0001-5092-1308
Journal name Policing : an international journal of police strategies & management.
Volume number 30
Issue number 1
Start page 21
End page 31
Publisher Emerald Group Publishing Ltd
Place of publication Bradford, England
Publication date 2007
ISSN 1363-951X
1758-695X
Keyword(s) children (age groups)
interviews
police
Australia
Summary Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to examine police officers’ perceptions about their role in interviewing children, and to compare these perceptions with those of child eyewitness memory experts.

Design/methodology/approach – A diverse sample of 23 police officers (from three states of Australia) individually participated in in-depth interviews where they were asked to define what makes a good interviewer in the area of child abuse investigation.

Findings – Irrespective of the background of the officers, the important role of interviewers’ personal attributes was emphasised (e.g. having a relaxed, empathetic, warm nature). Such personal attributes were more prominent in the participants’ descriptions than knowledge of legislation and children’s
development, prior job experience, and interviewing techniques.

Research limitations/implications – The paper shows that while child eyewitness memory experts acknowledge the importance of establishing a bond of mutual trust between the interviewer and the child, the importance of utilising an open-ended questioning style for enhancing rapport, and
for eliciting a detailed and accurate account of abuse cannot be overstated. The possible reasons for the police officers’ emphasis on personal qualities are discussed.

Originality/value – This paper has revealed that limitations in the competency of police officers in interviewing children is not merely a problem of “doing” (i.e. learning to ask open-ended questions),
but may also reflect ingrained attitudinal and organisational barriers.
Notes Reproduced with the kind permission of the copyright owner.
Language eng
DOI 10.1108/13639510710725604
Field of Research 170103 Educational Psychology
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2007, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30007223

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Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure that permission has been obtained for items included in DRO. If you believe that your rights have been infringed by this repository, please contact drosupport@deakin.edu.au.