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Are you listening to me?: Responding to and constructing meaning from children's accounts in forensic interviews

Joseph, Cecilia. 2006. Are you listening to me?: Responding to and constructing meaning from children's accounts in forensic interviews. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.

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In the UK, it has been the practice since 1992 to use video recordings of forensic interviews with child witnesses as evidence in criminal proceedings dealing with sexual or violent offences. The guidelines for these interviews emphasise the importance of actively listening to the child. However, these guidelines provide little empirical evidence as to how active listening is practised. This study seeks to fill this gap by examining the listening practices of police interviewers during forensic interviews with children. Using selected examples, I explicate the 'discursive listening' practices of the police interviewers in this data corpus of 11 videotaped interviews with children ranging from the ages of 4 to 8 years old. Drawing upon the CA method, this study examines how police officers respond to and construct meaning from children's accounts in these interviews. The findings suggest that the turn-taking organisation within the forensic interview offers many opportunities for the child to take up speakership in order to promote the progressivity of talk. In terms of managing the progressivity of talk, the findings show that the interviewer's inherent preoccupation to pursue institutional goals can obliterate the opportunity to attend to the local interactional competence of the child. Additionally, the findings show the police interviewer can orient to occasions of 'non responsiveness' in the interview interaction in three differentiated ways (1) as an index of developmental inability, (2) as resistance to talk and (3) as a reflection of the child's differing cultural world.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Status: Unpublished
Schools: English, Communication and Philosophy
ISBN: 9781303207792
Funders: Faculty of Languages & Linguistics, University of Malaya
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Last Modified: 12 Feb 2016 23:15

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