Interviewing Victims and Witnesses

What we are missing in interviewing and interrogation training?

interviewing victims and witnessesInterviewing victims and witnesses is an absolutely critical element of the investigative process.  More than one review of our currently training practices has noted that interviewing and interrogation courses focus heavily if not exclusively on interviewing suspects. In a prominent study conducted by the Rand Corporation many years ago, interviewing victims and witnesses was considered one of the most important activities that had a direct affect on the positive outcome of any investigation.  Now, nearly 3 decades later we may still be short changing our investigators by not giving attention to this critical skill.

There is also a second disturbing aspect to training regarding interviewing victims and witnesses.  The vast majority of the training courses focus heavily on the element of spotting deception in the victim or witness’s behavior.  To complicate the situation even further even further, the great majority of verbal and nonverbal cues identified as deception have been proven wrong. Multiple empirical studies on the signs of deception ad shown that are very large majority of our interviewing and interrogation training programs are actually responsible of perpetuation of deception myths.

Check out our “Mastering Narrative-Based Interviewing” course.

Finally, if and when interviewing victims and witnesses is addressed in interviewing and interrogation training, there is very little focus f tactics that been proven to be effective.  As a result, most victim and witness interviews are very cursory efforts and do very little in terms of ascertaining any important information that the victim or witness may possess.  In fact, most tactics taught and used are counter-productive.  The result is often statements that have been contaminated by the interviewer’s efforts.  Those same tactics also do little gain cooperation and compliance from victims and witnesses nor take into account the strong emotional and cognitive reactions they may be experiencing.

Watch Interviewing Tip # 27 | Interviewing Victims and Witnesses of 101 Tips for Interviewing and Interrogation to Learn More.

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