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Browsing by discipline "Forensic Psychology"

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  • Heikkilä, Anu (2017)
    Despite decades of research, knowledge and training in the area of Child sexual abuse (CSA) interviews, studies internationally have shown that forensic child interviewers still relay on inappropriate questioning. Suggestive questions should not be used in CSA interviews as they can be very harmful for the witness reports of children. The previous and only Finnish study assessing the quality of CSA interviews is from the beginning of the 2000s. The study showed that the quality of Finnish CSA interviews was poor. In the present study, the CSA interviews from Helsinki and Uusimaa hospital district area in 2014 and 2015 are examined. All the interviews in this study are conducted in the forensic psychology center for children and adolescent. The aim for this study is to evaluate the questions asked by the interviewers in the investigative interviews with alleged CSA victims. The results are compared with the previous findings in Finland to find out whether the interview quality has improved. The sample, consisting of 96 transcribed forensic interviews with 55 alleged CSA victims (aged 3-18 years), was anonymised and analysed. Interviews were coded for questions types. The results were compared with the previous Finnish study. Detailed analyses of the interview transcripts showed that 47% of all the questions asked were facilitators, 12% were invitations, 27% were directive, 11% were option-posing and 0.3% were suggestive. The amount of questions encouraging the child to freely recall the events was almost 60 %, whereas in the previous study they reached only just over 20% of all questions asked. The amount of suggestive questions had decreased notably. Most of the interviews did not include any suggestive questions and the overall quite modest amount of suggestive questions was posed to a small proportion of the interviewed children. The results show that interview practice has improved notably since the previous study and this analysis provides viable arguments for encouraging the guidelines used in the Helsinki and Uusimaa hospital district.