Investigative interviewing of child witnesses: An evaluation

Martine Powell1, Sonja Brubacher1, David Boud2
1Centre For Investigative Interviewing, Griffith Criminology Institute, Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia, 2Centre for Research in Assessment and Digital Learning, Deakin University, Geelong, Australia

Investigative interviews with children form the central plank of evidence in the prosecution of child sexual abuse. These cases, however, do not usually lead to conviction due to poor quality evidence – highlighting the necessity of improving (where possible) professionals’ skill in interviewing. This presentation firstly provides an overview of what constitutes best practice interviewing of children. It then reviews the interview evaluation research across Australian jurisdictions, highlighting the main areas in need of skill improvement. The presentation takes a constructive approach, referring to recent pioneering research on the elements that underpin sustainable learning of child witness interviewing skill.

Martine Powell is a Professor in the Griffith Criminology Institute and Founding Director of the Centre for Investigative Interviewing at Griffith University. She has over 25 years of experience and more than 250 research publications on investigative interviewing and related topics. She has designed, implemented and evaluated interviewer training programs for a diverse range of professional groups. Prof Powell’s research is best described as practice-based, conducted in collaboration with industry partners to inform decisions about how to improve investigative and evidential interviewing.


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