Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/2440/62778
Type: Thesis
Title: ’Just say it in your own words’: the social interactional nature of investigative interviews into child sexual abuse.
Author: Fogarty, Kathryn
Issue Date: 2010
School/Discipline: School of Psychology
Abstract: Although there is now a significant body of psychological literature examining the investigative interviewing of children, this research neglects to adequately account for how the investigative interview is a product of a social interaction between the interviewer and the child. This thesis applies insights from discursive psychology and conversation analysis to analyse the interactional practices of police interviewers and children during investigative interviews into child sexual abuse. The data is derived from 11 videotaped investigative interviews of children aged between 7 and 11 years, conducted by police interviewers in an Australian sexual crimes unit. Close analysis using the method of conversation analysis reveals the extent to which children, by virtue of their conversational competency, are active participants in producing what comes to ultimately be seen as a quality investigative interview. The first analytic chapter explores interviewer‘s methods for eliciting disclosures from children when moving from rapport-building into the substantive phase of the interview, highlighting how children‘s conversational competencies contribute to the progressivity of the interaction. The analysis demonstrates how children display numerous conversational competencies that facilitate the ease with which this key moment gets worked through to completion, such as recognising and repairing their own person reference problems. It was also found that, contrary to best-practice guidelines, interviewers did sometimes resort to forced choice or closed questions during this stage. But they only did so after attempting to elicit disclosures using more open-ended prompts. The second analytic chapter focuses on moments where children display audible and visible signs of discomfort when being asked to talk about the details of the alleged sexual abuse. The analysis examines interviewers‘ methods for responding to these moments, such as asking children to draw representations of bedrooms, themselves and the accused, as well as the use of body diagrams. The analysis demonstrates how these ‗props‘ helped restore progressivity to the interaction when it had stalled. The third analytic chapter explores the ways that children formulate their claims to know or remember things. Children could be seen actively working to represent the extent of their knowing or remembering precisely through their talk. Moreover, it was found that interviewers treated children‘s denials of memory or knowing differently depending on the extent to which they might assume that the child could be expected to know the information. The final analytic chapter focuses on moments where children‘s talk is occupied with the moral matter of their own response to the accused at the time of an abusive incident. When children were asked about what they said or did when the accused was engaging them in sexual activity, they frequently responded with accounts of how they resisted, why they could not resist, or why they were not culpable. These accounts displayed a moral assumption that a victim should not have had any agency in initiating or willingly participating in the types of activities that constitute sexual abuse. The concluding chapter summarises the findings of the four analytic chapters, outlines the implications of the research for investigative interviewing as well as for interviewing children in other contexts, such as clinical assessment and therapy settings, and details the limitations of the research along with recommendations for how future research of this kind could be improved.
Advisor: Augoustinos, Martha
Kettler, Lisa Joy
Dissertation Note: Thesis (Ph.D.) -- University of Adelaide, School of Psychology, 2010
Keywords: investigative interviews; forensic interviews; child sexual abuse; conversation analysis; social interaction; discursive psychology
Appears in Collections:Research Theses

Files in This Item:
File Description SizeFormat 
01front.pdf526.98 kBAdobe PDFView/Open
02chapters1-5.pdf1.65 MBAdobe PDFView/Open
03chapter6.pdf2.95 MBAdobe PDFView/Open
04chapters7-9.pdf3.4 MBAdobe PDFView/Open
05ref-append.pdf1.49 MBAdobe PDFView/Open


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