The quality of forensic interviews in Scotland

Project: Research

Project Details


In Scotland investigative interviews must have successfully completed a Joint investigative interviewers Training course (JITT) before they can interview children about suspected abuse. Training involves familiarizing interviewers with current guidelines, learning about communicative and developmental issues, conducting “mock” interviews with trained actors who play the role of an abused child, receiving feedback on practice interviews, and learning about the role of the interview in the wider context of criminal proceedings. Once trained, real forensic interviews are conducted jointly by a police officer and a social worker and are recorded to later be used as evidence.

One of the most crucial components of forensic interviews with children is that interviewers elicit information using open-prompts (e.g., “Tell me what happened?”). Research shows that open-prompts elicit longer and more accurate responses from children by tapping recall memory (Lamb, Hershkowitz, Orbach, & Esplin. (2008) but that they are not commonly used in forensic interviews. This project is currently examining the quality of forensic interviews that are conducted with children in Scotland. When completed recommendations for improvements to training will be possible.
StatusNot started