Do we need to rethink guidance on repeated interviews?
Item TypeJournal Article
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Within the legal system, children are frequently interviewed about their experiences more than once, with different information elicited in different interviews. The presumed positive and negative effects of multiple interviewing have generated debate and controversy within the legal system and among researchers. Some commentators emphasise that repeated interviews foster inaccurate recall and are inherently suggestive, whereas others emphasise the benefits of allowing witnesses more than one opportunity to recall information. In this article we briefly review the literature on repeated interviewing before presenting a series of cases highlighting what happens when children are interviewed more than once for various reasons. We conclude that, when interviewers follow internationally recognised best-practice guidelines emphasising open-questions and free memory recall, alleged victims of abuse should be interviewed more than once to ensure that more complete accounts are obtained. Implications for current legal guidelines concerning repeated interviewing are discussed.