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An examination of police officers' beliefs about how children report abuse

Hughes-Scholes, Carolyn H., Powell, Martine B. and Sharman, Stefanie J. 2014, An examination of police officers' beliefs about how children report abuse, Psychiatry, psychology and law, vol. 21, no. 1, pp. 127-138, doi: 10.1080/13218719.2013.793153.

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Title An examination of police officers' beliefs about how children report abuse
Author(s) Hughes-Scholes, Carolyn H.
Powell, Martine B.ORCID iD for Powell, Martine B. orcid.org/0000-0001-5092-1308
Sharman, Stefanie J.ORCID iD for Sharman, Stefanie J. orcid.org/0000-0002-0635-047X
Journal name Psychiatry, psychology and law
Volume number 21
Issue number 1
Start page 127
End page 138
Total pages 12
Publisher Routledge
Place of publication Abingdon, England
Publication date 2014
ISSN 1321-8719
1934-1687
Keyword(s) child sexual abuse
interviewer training
investigative interviewing
Summary The aim of this study was to examine police officers’ beliefs about how children report abuse. Fifty-two officers read transcripts of nine interviews, which were conducted with actual children or adults playing the role of the child witness. Officers indicated whether they thought the interviews were with an actual child and justified their decisions. In-depth interviews were conducted to determine the reasons behind their decisions. Overall, officers’ decisions were no better than chance. When making these decisions, officers focused on three areas: whether they considered the child's language to be age-appropriate, whether they thought that the content of the statement was plausible, and whether they thought that the child had acted in a manner consistent with recollecting a traumatic event. The findings suggest that the characteristics officers rely on when evaluating children's statements of abuse are not reliable indicators. They suggest that officers’ beliefs about these statements need to be challenged during training to reduce the effects of those beliefs on their later decisions.
Language eng
DOI 10.1080/13218719.2013.793153
Field of Research 170104 Forensic Psychology
Socio Economic Objective 970117 Expanding Knowledge in Psychology and Cognitive Sciences
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2013, The Australian and New Zealand Association of Psychiatry, Psychology and Law
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30053464

Document type: Journal Article
Collections: School of Psychology
Higher Education Research Group
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Created: Fri, 05 Jul 2013, 16:36:37 EST by Barb Lavelle

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