What is it about?

Forensic interviewers are trained to ask children broad, open-ended questions (invitations) in cases of suspected child sexual abuse. Questions that specifically ask about the victim or perpetrator's hands can be used to supplement these invitations to elicit important details that invitations alone may not.

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Why is it important?

Our findings suggest that broad, open-ended invitations can be supplemented by directive questions to elicit thorough and detailed descriptions of abuse from child victims. While this study specifically assessed the productivity of hands questions in forensic interviews, they may be also productive in other contexts including prosecutorial examinations.


My co-authors and I have direct experience using questions about the hands in forensic interviews to elicit legally significant details from child victims. I hope that forensic interviewers and other practitioners are able to apply these findings to their work in order to best support child victims, and that this study encourages future work on how invitations may be supplemented by directives to facilitate productive interviews.

Owen Friend
University of Texas at Austin

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: The utility of direct questions about actions with the hands in child forensic interviews., Psychology Public Policy and Law, May 2024, American Psychological Association (APA),
DOI: 10.1037/law0000426.
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