For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 1 - 24

interviewer. Children can be easily overwhelmed by
more than one interviewer. Multidisciplinary team
members are usually viewing the interview either
through closed circuit monitoring or through a
one-way mirror, allowing the interviewer access to
feedback from the team during breaks.23 If siblings
or other victims are involved, interviews should be
conducted individually with each potential victim
instead of a group interview. The child should also be
interviewed in the absence of her/his parent. However,
if the child absolutely refuses to separate from her/his
parent, the parent should be allowed to be present
during the introductory phase to help the child feel
secure and then leave for the substantive phase.24 The
interview should be conducted in a neutral, childfriendly environment, free of extraneous distractions
of suggestive materials.
The interview should be orchestrated to engage
the child to simply talk about what happened to
them without direction or leading. By doing this, the
interviewer increases the probability of collecting
significant information, without contamination.
When questioning children, interviewers must avoid
posing leading or misleading questions in order to
minimize the risk of memory distortion. Children
are acculturated and sensitized to direction from
adults, even subtle inference. Children generally
want to please adults and look for subtle indicators
of what the adult wants. Often, children can view
repeated questions that have already been answered
as indicating that the first answer wasn't correct
and offer additional details or opposing responses.25
Careful analysis by the expert and the attorney of
the varied episodes of questioning can help identify
undue pressure or influence on the child reporter and
identify sources of taint.
Official interviews involve the use of a standardized
interview. Obtaining copies of the protocol utilized in
the local Child Advocacy Center (if available) can be
helpful in identifying when interviewers are deviating
from the structured format and allow for closer
scrutiny or later questioning.
The structure of a standardized interview begins
with a rapport-building phase, comprised of
introductions, interview instructions, truth telling
assessment, and the opportunity for the child to
practice providing narratives based on free-recall
prompts. The interviewer explains her/his role in
a non-authoritative and congenial manner and
creates a relaxed and calm atmosphere for the
child. Instructions/ground rules are given to the
child (e.g., giving permission for the child to say "I
don't know" or "I don't remember" versus guessing;
giving permission to correct the interviewer since
they were not there; giving permission to the child
to ask questions if they do not understand what the
interviewer is saying; giving permission to not answer
24

For The Defense l Vol. 5, Issue 1

and explain why repeated questions may be asked;
etc.). The interviewer engages in a truth/lie discussion
with the child. During this section, the interviewer
will assess the child's ability to understand truth. The
final section of the introductory phase is the narrative
event practice where the interviewer asks the child to
describe a happy event that might have happened to
the child using free-recall prompts. The interviewer
should be observed avoiding topics that elicit any
fantasy or imaginary play.
The next phase of the interview is the substantive
phase. The interviewer begins by introducing the
topic. They may ask the child, "Do you know why you
were brought here today?" which can be followed by,
"Can you explain why to me?". If the child does not
answer or says that they do not know, the interviewer
can be more specific and use more focused questions
carefully, but should then use free-recall prompts
as quickly as possible following the answers. Openended prompts should be used as much as possible
in the beginning of this phase. Research has shown
that open-ended prompts are three to five times
more informative than focused prompts. Closedended prompts should only be used to gain details or
clarifications after all open-ended prompts have been
exhausted and after disclosure (if any) has been made,
close to the end the interview.26
The final stage in the interview is the closure phase.
This can include assessing the socio-emotional needs
of the child, transitioning to non-substantive topics,
allowing for questions and answers and, finally,
assessing the child's safety.
Interviews being defined as structured do not
prevent error by the interviewer. Despite CAC
interviewers having specific training in a method
of inquiry informed by the literature and aimed
at offering no suggestive or leading influences,
interviewers are human beings who can revert to
a more natural style of inquiry by asking pointed
questions, repeating questions, etc. It can be
frustrating interviewing small children as they
often lack self-awareness and are simplistic in their
responses by nature. Lamb et al. (2007) found that
without continued supervision and feedback, trained
interviewers, in practice, tend to revert to focusprompts and option-posing questions. Their research
showed that continued training, feedback on their
conducted interviews and supervision increased the
quality of the interviews.27 Hence, if the training
and supervision of the forensic interviewers are
not well known, gathering information on the
training, preparation, and ongoing supervision of the
interviewer, can be enlightening.
Careful analysis of the transcripts of the official
interviews followed by close review of the videos
allow the expert and the attorney to identify potential



For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 1

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 1

Contents
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 1 - 1
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 1 - 2
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 1 - Contents
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 1 - 4
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 1 - 5
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 1 - 6
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 1 - 7
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 1 - 8
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 1 - 9
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 1 - 10
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 1 - 11
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 1 - 12
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 1 - 13
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 1 - 14
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 1 - 15
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 1 - 16
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 1 - 17
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 1 - 18
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 1 - 19
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 1 - 20
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 1 - 21
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 1 - 22
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 1 - 23
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 1 - 24
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 1 - 25
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 1 - 26
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 1 - 27
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 1 - 28
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 1 - 29
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 1 - 30
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 1 - 31
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 1 - 32
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 1 - 33
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 1 - 34
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 1 - 35
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 1 - 36
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 1 - 37
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 1 - 38
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 1 - 39
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 1 - 40
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 1 - 41
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 1 - 42
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 1 - 43
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 1 - 44
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/PACDL/FORTHEDEFENSE_vol5_issue4_2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/PACDL/FORTHEDEFENSE_vol5_issue3_2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/PACDL/FORTHEDEFENSE_vol5_issue2_2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/PACDL/FORTHEDEFENSE_vol5_issue1_2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/PACDL/FORTHEDEFENSE_vol4_issue4_2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/PACDL/FORTHEDEFENSE_vol4_issue3_2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/PACDL/FORTHEDEFENSE_vol4_issue2_2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/PACDL/FORTHEDEFENSE_vol4_issue1_2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/PACDL/FORTHEDEFENSE_vol3_issue4_2018
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/PACDL/FORTHEDEFENSE_vol3_issue3_2018
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/PACDL/FORTHEDEFENSE_vol3_issue2_2018
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/PACDL/FORTHEDEFENSE_vol3_issue1_2018
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pacdl/FORTHEDEFENSE_vol2_issue4_2017
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pacdl/FORTHEDEFENSE_vol2_issue3_2017
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pacdl/FORTHEDEFENSE_vol2_issue2_2017
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pacdl/FORTHEDEFENSE_vol2_issue1_2017
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/PACDL/FORTHEDEFENSE_vol1_issue4_2016
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/PACDL/FORTHEDEFENSE_vol1_issue3_2016
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/PACDL/FORTHEDEFENSE_vol1_issue2_2016
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/PACDL/FORTHEDEFENSE_vol1_issue1_2016
https://www.nxtbookmedia.com