41. Do Prosecutors Use Interview Instructions or Build Rapport with Child Witnesses?Behavioral Sciences and the Law (2015)
This study examined the quality of interview instructions and rapport-building provided by prosecutors to 168 5- to 12-year-old children testifying in child sexual abuse cases, preceding explicit questions about abuse allegations. Prosecutors failed to effectively administer key interview instructions, build rapport, or rely on open-ended narrative producing prompts during this early stage of questioning. Moreover, prosecutors often directed children’s attention to the defendant early in the testimony. The productivity of different types of wh- questions varied, with what/how questions focusing on actions being particularly productive. The lack of instructions, poor quality rapport-building, and closed-ended questioning suggest that children may not be adequately prepared during trial to provide lengthy and reliable reports to their full ability.
- child abuse,
- child testimony,
- child witness
Publication DateMay 18, 2015
Citation InformationAhern, E.C., Stolzenberg, S.N., & Lyon, T.D. (2015). Do prosecutors use interview instructions or build rapport with child witnesses? Behavioral Sciences and the Law, 33, 476-492.