Professionals views on how to conduct investigative interviews with minimally verbal adults

Madeline Bearman1, Martine Powell1, Lydia Timms2
1Centre For Investigative Interviewing, Griffith University, Mount Gravatt, Australia, 2Curtin University, Perth, Australia

Adults with complex communication needs are vulnerable to abuse and are over-represented as victims of crime. Investigators of abuse (who need to establish whether or not a criminal offence has occurred) rely largely on current interview protocols, which emphasize the importance of using non-leading open-ended questions to elicit narrative accounts. The current study addressed the issue of whether narrative-based protocols are appropriate for those adults who have minimal expressive language (i.e., use two- to five- word sentences). The procedure involved individual qualitative interviews with various experts (speech pathologists, trainers, psychologists) who have considerable experience working with people with major communication impairment. The themes arising from these in-depth interviews are discussed, and directions for future research are offered.

Madeleine is a final year PhD candidate at Griffith University conducting a thesis titled “Interviewing adults with limited expressive language”. She has 4 years experience working for the Centre of Investigative Interviewing as a researcher and senior interviewer trainer. Her research focuses on interviewing vulnerable people, interviewer training, mock interviews, coding and question types. She manages the specialist investigative interviewer training course which has been delivered in South Australia since 2016.


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