Examining reluctance and emotional support in forensic interviews with child victims of substantiated physical abuse

Elizabeth C. Ahern, Irit Hershkowitz, Michael E. Lamb, Uri Blasbalg, Yael Karni-Visel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations

Abstract

Socio-emotional dynamics were examined in 230 forensic interviews of 3- to -13-year-old Israeli children who disclosed chronic physical abuse that could be substantiated. Half of the children were interviewed using the Standard (SP) National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Protocol and the others using the Revised Protocol (RP) that emphasized emotional support from interviewers. When children disclosed physical abuse in the RP interviews, they did so in response to fewer prompts than children in the SP interviews. The number of turns in the transitional phase (during which the interviewer transitioned from rapport-building to exploring the possibility of abuse) was associated with increased directness and more specific utterance types. The younger children displayed reluctance more than older children. The RP interviews were characterized by more emotionally supportive statements throughout. These findings highlight various aspects of child forensic interviews that should be considered when seeking to understand children’s willingness to engage with interviewers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)227-238
Number of pages12
JournalApplied Developmental Science
Volume23
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 3 Jul 2019
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017, © 2017 Taylor & Francis.

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