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

Webster, W., Oxburgh, G. 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. https://doi.org/10.1080/1068316x.2020.1849694

TitleThe use and efficacy of question type and an attentive interviewing style in adult rape interviews
TypeJournal article
AuthorsWebster, W., Oxburgh, G. and Dando, Coral J.
Abstract

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.

KeywordsInterviewing, strategies, rape, empathy, interviewer style, violence against women
JournalPsychology, Crime & Law
Journal citation27 (7), pp. 656-677
ISSN1068-316X
1477-2744
Year2021
PublisherTaylor & Francis
Accepted author manuscript
File Access Level
Open (open metadata and files)
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1080/1068316x.2020.1849694
Publication dates
Published online26 Nov 2020
PublishedAug 2021
Supplemental file
File Access Level
Controlled (open metadata, closed files)
Page range1-22

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