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Title: Investigating the forensic interviewing of children : multiple interviews and social support
Author: Waterhouse, Genevieve F.
ISNI:       0000 0004 6497 3231
Awarding Body: London South Bank University
Current Institution: London South Bank University
Date of Award: 2016
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Despite a burgeoning literature on the most effective ways to interview child victims/witnesses and resulting changes in interviewing guidelines in the UK, many children’s cases still do not progress to court. The present thesis focuses on two underresearched aspects of interviewing that have the potential to improve children’s informativeness and their willingness to support case progression; namely, multiple interviews and social support. Multiple interviewing entails formally interviewing a child more than once about an alleged event. Social support involves building rapport with a child to ease their anxieties about the interview. These techniques were addressed in four studies. The first comprised a survey of police officers and ascertained their opinions about and use of multiple interviews and social support. Officers reported conducting child interviews in a supportive manner. Their opinions of multiple interviewing were cautiously positive, including concerns over causing further distress to a child interviewee and the possibility that children might provide inconsistent details. The following studies addressed these risks. The second study analysed interviewer and interviewee behaviours in a real life sample of multiple interview transcripts. The findings showed first, second, and third interviews to be conducted similarly in terms of the amount of support provided, and question types used. Children also provided many new details in second and third interviews, and very few contradictions of their previous testimony. The third study comprised an experiment examining the current UK police guidelines’ rapport-building phase in multiple interviews with children. Again, children provided many new details and few contradictions in multiple interviews, but there were no significant differences between the recall and well-being of children who had and had not experienced rapportbuilding. The final study examined how multiple interviewing and viewing the rapportbuilding phase of an interview affected mock-jurors’ perceptions of a child witness, the interview, and the case. Multiple interviews resulted in more positive views of the child, whereas viewing the rapport-building led to more negative ones. Based on the previous chapters’ positive findings regarding multiple interviewing, and some recent calls for the guidelines to be relaxed regarding the contexts in which multiple interviewing should be encouraged, a Study Space Analysis was conducted. However, this revealed that the literature is not yet sufficient for policy change to be enacted. In conclusion, multiple interviewing shows potential to be an effective way of obtaining additional, accurate information from children, but an alternative, more effective technique for building rapport with, and providing social support to children may need to be developed.
Supervisor: Ridley, Anne ; Wilcock, Rachel ; Bull, Ray Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available