Issues in forensic interviewing with children
As a result, the data has to be factual and legally defensible (Newlin et al. Due to factors such as age, exposure, fear, among others, children require special attention during forensic interviews. Forensic interviews that involve children should be managed to ensure accurate information is gained from children and that the information can be used in a legal process. It is important to understand all aspects of forensic interviewing of children to be able to achieve this goal. This includes the issues related to the subject. There was a need to develop special skills that could be used to interview children for legal purposes. Researchers in the field studied children’s developmental capabilities in a bid to understand their thought process and engage them in a productive interview process.
Researchers also developed models based on the information they had collected from their studies. Fisher and Geiselman developed the cognitive Interview in 1992, while Saywitz, Geiselman, and Bornstein developed the Narrative Elaboration in the same year (Newlin et al. Children process aspects such as abuse and trauma differently from adults and also differently when compared to each other. In most cases, this makes them unfamiliar to experiences that are not considered normal by older children and by adults. Toddlers cannot notice actions or events that are out of place leading them to have poor collection and storage of information regarding the event (Brubacher et al. Another developmental aspect that affects children is referred to as metacognition. This is defined as the ability to understand a query and provide relevant information to satisfy the query.
In some cases, toddlers are unable to understand questions considered slightly complex, hence lack the ability to provide relevant answers. Cultural and social aspects further affect development (Newlin et al. A family's socioeconomic status as well as their cultural practices, linguistic style, and expressions play an important role in determining the meaning a child will attach to specific experiences or words. Social workers spend more time with children as compared to forensic interviewers. As a result, they are the most knowledgeable individuals on the team about the development of children at different ages. Social workers who understand the challenges development places on the forensic interview process will understand their role in contributing to bridging the gap between the team and the child undergoing the interview.
Experts who have been in the profession for an extended period tend to have more insight into the nature of cases compared to professional at the early stages of their career. In such cases, knowledge bias may affect their professional decision-making skills (Goodman, & Melinder, 2007). These experts may fail to notice minute facts that have a significant bearing on the case. This leads to conclusions that do not address the actual problem, but only sections of the issue. The early development of forensic interviewing of children was carried out by mental health practitioners. Children Advocacy Centers are intended to provide the best environment for forensic interviewing of children (Cross et al. The centers provide the safety and assurance children need to be able to feel comfortable and secure to open up about abuse.
The centers also offer an environment that coordinates each of the different agency members of the forensic investigation team to avoid situations where children feel overwhelmed by the amount of attention or the nature of questioning by different members of the forensic team. These centers are spread across countries around the world and cater to the community on a regional basis. Although the centers are intended on improving the process of forensic interviewing of children, some centers have fallen short of their mandate. As mentioned earlier, children are more subjective in environments where they feel threatened. Police stations may be believed to offer safety to a child. However, research has shown that these environments may be threatening to children. There is no rule or law on the structure or composition of children's advocacy centers.
As such, it falls on the management of the center to ensure the environment within the center affirms a child's safety and comfort. Social workers should be able to identify cases where the interviewer exhibits any form of bias in the interview process (Fouche, 2007). They should be able to point these instances out and provide solutions to the challenge. Also, social workers should understand the development of children and the effect it has on their personality. This is essential in guiding the forensic interview process to a successful conclusion. The effect their environment is significant to the outcome of the forensic interview process. Modern models will take into account information from new research and considerations outlined by the research. They will be able to ensure the forensic process is effective and reflects the concern on children.
Considerations can be developed from studies on aspects such as the influence age, and development levels have on children in the current decade, and the effect of trauma on children’s memory. Other considerations can be drawn from studies on the effects that cause bias and suggestibility on children as well as the effect of multiple interviews on a child’s emotional state. The significance of the Topic Various issues and information have come to light while studying this topic. The topic has also highlighted the role of social workers in the process and their significance in ensuring the environment and process respects the rights of the child as a witness. References Brubacher, S. P. , Peterson, C. , La Rooy, D. 003Get Cross, T.
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