skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 149557 Find in a Library
Title: Interviewing Child Victims: Police and Social Work Investigations of Child Sexual Abuse
Journal: Sociology  Volume:26  Dated:(February 1992)  Pages:103-124
Author(s): N G Fielding; S Conroy
Date Published: 1992
Page Count: 22
Type: Research (Applied/Empirical)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: This article examines the conduct of videotaped interviews between suspected child-sexual-abuse victims and police officers and social workers who are investigating the allegation.
Abstract: In 1987 a pilot project that involved joint police and social services investigation of suspected cases of child sexual abuse was begun in an English county, and the authors of this article evaluated its first year of operation. During the 12-month evaluation, 83 referrals were received. Forty-five investigations included at least one video- recorded interview; 11 involved 2 with the same children, and 11 involved a videotaped interview with a sibling, totaling 67 video-recorded interviews. Allowing for technical failure and refusals of consent, 44 recordings were available for analysis. A pro forma for quantitative analysis of interview procedure was devised after close, repeated inspection of a subset of recordings. It was applied to all the available recordings. Variables in the pro forma included the interview's length, who was present and any temporary absences during the interview, whether and how anatomically detailed dolls were used, which investigator began the interview and whether either took a leading role, the verbal responsiveness and demeanor of the child, whether the child was allowed time to speak and ask questions, what sort of information was given the child about the referral and what would happen next, and whether assurances about confidentiality and responsibility were given. Other information pertained to the extent to which the interview was structured, the questioning techniques used, procedures for establishing the child's terminology for body parts and significant others, and the nature of physical contact between investigators and the child. The authors note that investigator training currently emphasizes that the best means of obtaining reliable evidence is the careful conduct of the interview. The authors argue that similar emphasis must be given the analysis of the dialog as a product of the context of an interaction between investigators and victims. They maintain that techniques for the interpretation of research interview data can assist practitioners in assessing the quality of investigative interview evidence. The study illustrates how this may be done with several brief extracts from investigative interviews with very young victims. 1 table and 41 references
Main Term(s): Child victims
Index Term(s): Child abuse investigations; Child Sexual Abuse; Police interrogation training; Police interview/interrogation of juvenile; Social worker casework
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.