The use and efficacy of question type and an attentive interviewing style in adult rape interviews

Webster, William S., Oxburgh, Gavin and Dando, Coral J. (2021) The use and efficacy of question type and an attentive interviewing style in adult rape interviews. Psychology Crime & Law, 27 (7). pp. 656-677. ISSN 1068-316X

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Police interviewers find the investigation of sexual crimes ‘technically difficult’ and ‘stressful’ to conduct by having to make sense of very powerful and painful emotions. In addition, such interviews often contain inappropriate as opposed to appropriate questions and interviewers often find it difficult to be ‘attentive’ to the specific needs of victims. Through the analysis of interviews with adult rape victims (N = 25) in England, we wanted to establish whether the ‘quantity’ and ‘quality’ of investigation relevant information (IRI) obtained would be impacted as a function of different question typologies (e.g. appropriate versus inappropriate), and overall interviewer attentiveness. We hypothesised that: (i) more inappropriate questions would be asked compared to appropriate questions; (ii) responses to appropriate questions would contain more items of IRI than responses to inappropriate questions; (iii) attentive interviews would contain more appropriate questions than non-attentive interviews, and; (iv) attentive interviews would contain more IRI than non-attentive interviews. Results found that interviewers asked significantly more appropriate questions that elicited significantly more items of IRI. However, there were no significant differences in the number of appropriate questions asked or the impact on the amount of IRI obtained between interviews as a function of interviewer attentiveness. Implications for practice are discussed.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Interviewing strategies, rape, empathy, interviewer style, violence against women
Subjects: L900 Others in Social studies
M900 Other in Law
Department: Faculties > Arts, Design and Social Sciences > Social Sciences
Depositing User: John Coen
Date Deposited: 16 Dec 2020 15:40
Last Modified: 24 Aug 2021 12:38

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