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Title: The investigative interviewing of children
Author: Westcott, Helen L.
Awarding Body: University of Leicester
Current Institution: University of Leicester
Date of Award: 1996
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Four studies examined the investigative interviewing of children. Their purpose was to consider the way that children are interviewed, particularly about suspected sexual abuse, so that broader contextual factors were explicitly taken into account. To facilitate the research, an ecological framework was adopted. This stressed the importance of obtaining children's views and relating findings to the child's position, and of studying investigative interviewing in a wider practice and policy context than has previously taken place. In the first study, children who had been the subject of an investigative interview for sexual abuse participated in indepth interviews. The second experiment contrasted child and adult interviewers finding out what had happened during a videotaped event. Children's help-seeking behaviour in relation to bullying and parental arguing was explored through a questionnaire in the third study. Finally, training on the Memorandum of Good Practice in Area Child Protection Committees (ACPCs) was surveyed via a questionnaire. Findings from the first and final studies suggested that the Memorandum is too heavily evidential at the expense of children's welfare. In practice, investigative interviews resemble interrogations, rather than opportunities for children to talk about problems. The studies of children's help-seeking, and their experiences of investigative interviews, contained a number of pointers for individual practitioners. In particular, children want supportive and empathic professionals. However, the need to reconsider children's social networks in relation to professional intervention was highlighted by the absence of professional helpers chosen to assist with interpersonal problems. The value of interviewer training was emphasised by the study of children-as-interviewers and the survey of ACPCs' training. The research demonstrated the importance of considering the wider context of investigative interviewing, and specifically the influence of the criminal justice system. The ecological approach proved a valuable framework, but the problems of researching macro-level systems and power structures remain.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available