Interview Practice of Malaysian Police Officers with Children in Sexual Abuse Cases

Azlin Hilma Hillaluddin (2011). Interview Practice of Malaysian Police Officers with Children in Sexual Abuse Cases PhD Thesis, School of Social Work and Human Services, The University of Queensland.

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Author Azlin Hilma Hillaluddin
Thesis Title Interview Practice of Malaysian Police Officers with Children in Sexual Abuse Cases
School, Centre or Institute School of Social Work and Human Services
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2011-08
Thesis type PhD Thesis
Supervisor Associate Professor Peter Newcombe
Dr Yvonne Darlington
Total pages 246
Total colour pages 8
Total black and white pages 238
Subjects 16 Studies in Human Society
Abstract/Summary Child sexual abuse is a worldwide concern and disclosure continue to be a challenging process for a child to perform since the majority of perpetrators are found to be people known to the victims. In addition to the distressing sexual abuse experience, the developmental abilities and limitations of children also contribute to the challenges of obtaining disclosure from children who are sexually abused. Literature on investigative interviews with children advocates the use of structured protocols and procedures since there are legal implications involved in obtaining disclosure in such cases. This research is driven by the interest to investigate the issues surrounding the practice of investigative interviews in child sexual abuse cases in an Asian setting since the body of literature on investigative or forensic interviews has predominantly documented practice that exist in the western context and developed countries. Utilizing a mixed methods approach involving 2 studies, the research was conducted at the Child Protection Unit (CPU) of the Royal Malaysia Police in Malaysia. In Study 1, 58 video recorded interviews with children in sexual abuse cases were selected for quantitative observations and analysis. In Study 2, semi-structured interviews were utilized with 13 police officers who received investigative interview training and were in charge of interviewing children at the CPU to explore their perceptions concerning their interviewing experience at the unit. Data triangulation was utilized in the analysis to explain interviewing practice. The findings from the video observations indicated that interviewers spent the longest time in the Questioning Stage and that the interview process may not necessarily flow in a linear manner as interviewers were observed returning to rapport building in almost half of the videos observed, especially when the children appeared to be having some problems disclosing. The importance of rapport was supported by participants in Study 2 and was acknowledged as necessary to be revisited during the course of the interview when the need arose. Several problematic interviewer behaviours were also observed in the videos; e.g. the use of leading questions by interviewers typically with younger children and the underutilization of open-ended questions. Study 2 participants explained that the pressure to obtain evidence for court had necessitated the use of leading questions especially when comparing child disclosure in the videos with prior information included in case summaries. Participants also thought that open-ended questions were time consuming and difficult to utilize with young children. The video observations and participants’ account indicated interviewing preschool children as the most challenging. In addition, findings and issues that were Malaysian specific were also highlighted, such as the issue of language and ethnic diversity. The findings of the research also suggested several recommendations for policy and practice changes regarding the operations of the CPU and interviewer training. In conclusion, this research found that Malaysian police interviewers in general were able to adhere to the investigative interviewing procedures although some problematic interviewing behaviours were observed. The research also highlighted that investigative interviewers need to be highly trained so that the legal validity of the recorded evidence is ensured.
Keyword investigative interviews
forensic interviews
interviewing children
child sexual abuse
Additional Notes Colour pages: 19, 24, 67, 69, 84, 92, 118, 131 Landscape pages: 19, 20, 69, 118, 237

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Created: Wed, 24 Aug 2011, 00:32:42 EST by Ms Azlin Hillaluddin on behalf of Library - Information Access Service