Recent Research: Child Victim Interviews
Drinnan, Lora, Canadian Journal of Police and Security Services
Lamb, M.E., & Garretson, M.E. (2003). The effects of interviewer and child gender on the informativeness of alleged child sexual victims in forensic interviews. Law and Human Behavior, 27, 157-171.
It has been suggested that Hugo Munsterberg was one of the first social scientists to promote the empirical exploration of eyewitness memory accuracy (Wrightsman, 2001). Munsterberg (1908) argued that it was important for the courts and other legal entities to know whether a witness's recollections are objective reconstructions of past events, or reconstructions studded with associations and suggestions. Since the early work of Munsterberg, significant research has been conducted in eyewitness memory, creating a rich tapestry of areas of concentration within the field itself. One area that has received a significant amount of attention involves the processes surrounding the interviewing of witnesses, especially in regard to the differences between children and adult witnesses. Included among the findings to date in this area, is the fact that children and adults differ in terms of their level of vulnerability during the interview process, with children tending to be more susceptible to misleading questions than adults (Roebers and Schneider, 2000).
In their article entitled, "The Effects of Interviewer and Child Gender on the Informativeness of Alleged Child Sexual Victims in Forensic Interviews", Lamb and Garretson suggest that age and communicative abilities are important considerations when questioning a child victim in cases involving alleged sexual abuse. Specifically, the authors argue that the gender of the interviewer and the child can significantly impact the effectiveness of the interaction with regard to the accuracy of information. As evidence for this claim, the authors cite previous research indicating that male interviewers tend to be more verbally aggressive and argumentative (i.e., they tend to ignore, challenge, dispute, and interrupt) than female interviewers. Lamb and Garretson argue that this more aggressive approach may cause children to become more susceptible to suggestion and result in a less accurate account of events when compared to female interviewers who tend to be perceived as less authoritative and more supportive.
Based on the above research, Lamb and Garretson argue that supportiveness appears to be a key factor in a …
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Publication information: Article title: Recent Research: Child Victim Interviews. Contributors: Drinnan, Lora - Author. Journal title: Canadian Journal of Police and Security Services. Volume: 1. Issue: 2 Publication date: June 2003. Page number: 144. © 2006 Meritus Solutions, Inc. COPYRIGHT 2003 Gale Group.
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