Irit Hershkowitz

Irit Hershkowitz
University of Haifa | haifa · School of Social Work

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106
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Publications (106)
Article
Background Emotions can powerfully affect memory retrieval although this effect has seldom been studied in everyday contexts. Objective This study aimed to explore the association between children's verbal emotional expressions and the type of information reported during forensic interviews. Participants and setting The sample included 198 interv...
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Statements by alleged victims are important when child abuse is prosecuted; triers-of-fact often attend to nonverbal emotional expressions when evaluating those statements. This study examined the associations among interviewer supportiveness, children’s nonverbal emotions, and informativeness during 100 forensic interviews with alleged victims of...
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In the Netherlands, there is currently no quality standard for conducting child forensic interviews in Child Protective Services (CPS) . The lack of such standard causes concern regarding the quality of these interviews, which are used to determine the child’s safety and implementing treatment. In the current study, we implemented the National Inst...
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Supportive forensic interviews conducted in accordance with the NICHD Revised Protocol (RP) help many alleged victims describe abusive experiences. When children remain reluctant to make allegations, the RP guides interviewers to 1) focus on rapport building and non-suggestive support in a first interview, and 2) plan a second interview to allow co...
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Because intensely reluctant children often fail to report being abused even when they are supportively interviewed, the Revised NICHD (National Institute of Child Health and Human Development) Protocol (RP) guides interviewers to delay discussion of sensitive topics and build rapport before scheduling a follow-up interview in which children might f...
Article
Background: Child Maltreatment (CM) is a worldwide phenomenon. Literature suggests that children with disabilities are at increased risk for CM. However, limited information exists regarding if such increased risk is noted in community primary care clinics. Aim: To report on the incidence of CM in children with and without disabilities attending...
Article
The Standard NICHD Protocol (SP) models the use of cognitively focused techniques for forensic interviewing whereas the Revised Protocol (RP) also emphasizes intensive rapport building and the provision of emotional support. Interviewers trained to use the RP build rapport better and are more supportive than those using the SP, thereby enhancing ch...
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Children’s testimony is often critical to the initiation of legal proceedings in abuse cases. In forensic interviews, the expression of emotions can powerfully enhance both the quality of children’s statements and perceptions that their statements are coherent and credible. However, children rarely express their emotions when reporting abusive even...
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Child abuse victims are required to participate in stressful forensic investigations but often fail to fully report details about their victimization. Especially in intrafamilial abuse cases, children’s emotional states presumably involve reluctance to report abuse. The current study examined the effects of interviewers’ support on children’s reluc...
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Child maltreatment victims are often reluctant to report abuse when formally interviewed. Evidence-based guidelines like the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Standard Investigative Interview Protocol do not adequately address such reluctance because they are focused on cognitive rather than socioemotional strategies. The pre...
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Under-identification of child maltreatment (CM) remains a significant problem. The study aim was to examine rates of CM identification in a child development center (CDC) vs. a community clinic (CC). This was a cross-sectional study, involving study (CDC) and comparison groups (CC) and using administrative data for the period 2011-2015. The study g...
Chapter
This chapter reviews important aspects of children's development that affect their ability to provide useful information when interviewed about events they have experienced. The ability to organize the remembered details into a coherent form is important for both communication and for long‐term memory. Infantile amnesia curtails the ability of chil...
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This chapter considers children who may be especially difficult to interview because they have learning, behavioral, social, or communicative difficulties that might affect how well they can recall and describe their experiences. Relevant studies examining children with developmental or intellectual disabilities (CWID) have almost exclusively been...
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This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book reviews what research has demonstrated about young witnesses' strengths and difficulties, the challenges that interviewers face when eliciting testimony from children, and how to effectively prepare children to be interviewed. It a...
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In this chapter, the authors discuss their ongoing efforts to develop and evaluate variants of the Protocol that address the special circumstances that attend interviews with such reluctant witnesses. It is important to consider disclosure history, as well as the type of abuse and characteristics of the child, when planning for an interview and ant...
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This chapter describes the various phases of the Protocol for young victims and witnesses and the research that informed them. Although the Protocol does not provide prescriptive advice about preparing for an interview, interviewers should consider a number of factors in advance of meeting children. In the introductory phase, the interviewer introd...
Chapter
This chapter presents some closing thoughts on concepts discussed in the preceding chapters of this book. The book examines the interview context and how it may influence children's testimony. Before considering issues that would benefit from the attention of researchers in the future, it is important to emphasize that forensic interviews need to b...
Chapter
Systemic issues such as the quality of training provided, the availability of a structured interviewing model, and provision for continuing professional development, practice‐focused supervision, and regular opportunities for objective feedback on interviewing promote good interviewing practice better than how long interviewers have been working. C...
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This chapter summarizes research that has examined the use of various aids to complement Protocol strategies when interviewing alleged victims and witnesses. Dolls are the most studied visual aids, largely because of concerns raised by researchers and the courts about whether they are inherently suggestive or place too many demands on young childre...
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In this chapter, the authors summarize research examining whether use of the Protocol is associated with improved interviewing practice and enhances the nature of children's responding. They describe the results of seven field studies conducted in Canada, Israel, Japan, Korea, the U.K., and the U.S.; they demonstrate convincingly that interviewers...
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This chapter presents the interview context, summarizing what researchers have learned about how the way in which children are prepared for an interview and how the strategies employed by the interviewer can also have a major impact on what children say. Just as there may be delays between children experiencing maltreatment and telling others about...
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This chapter focuses on the impact that the use of the NICHD Protocol has on broader case‐related outcomes. In particular, it considers research examining whether the information elicited from children during Protocol interviews enhances assessments of their credibility and of their testimony more generally, the impact of the Protocol on the availa...
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This chapter addresses the extent to which interviewers actually adhere to the recommendations that have emerged from the research on children's eyewitness testimony when conducting investigative interviews with alleged victims. For many years now, expert professional groups and individuals have published consensus statements or formal guidelines d...
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It is clear that children as young as 3 years of age can respond to open‐ended questions, and that the NICHD Protocol can be used successfully when interviewing these very young children. Risky questions are even riskier when addressed to children aged 6 and under, and thus that forensic investigators need to make special efforts to maximize the am...
Article
The current study followed investigative interviews with individuals with mild and moderate intellectual disability (ID) and observed both the types of prompts addressed to them and the nature of their responses. The sample comprised 200 alleged victims, in 4 equal and matched groups: individuals with mild ID and their mental-age (MA) matches, and...
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Socio-emotional dynamics were examined in 230 forensic interviews of 3- to -13-year-old Israeli children who disclosed chronic physical abuse that could be substantiated. Half of the children were interviewed using the Standard (SP) National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Protocol and the others using the Revised Protocol (RP) that...
Article
A large national sample of 4,775 reports of child physical and sexual abuse made in Israel in 2014 was analyzed in order to examine whether assessments of credibility would vary according to abuse type, physical or sexual, and whether child and event characteristics contributing to the probability that reports of abuse would be determined as credib...
Article
The contribution of psychology to knowledge on child protection is substantial. This article reviews this contribution and suggests opportunities for psychology to contribute more, choosing 3 selected areas: (a) interviewing children to assess child maltreatment, (b) the well-being of children involved with the child protection system, and © eviden...
Article
A major challenge in cases of child sexual abuse (CSA) is determining the credibility of children's reports. Consequently cases may be misclassified as false or deemed ‘no judgment possible’. Based on a large national sample of reports of CSA made in Israel in 2014, the study examines child and event characteristics contributing to the probability...
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Although many children are reluctant to disclose abuse due to embarrassment, fear, and the anticipation of negative consequences, researchers have only recently begun to examine whether forensic interviewers can be trained to manage children's reluctance. In this study, the supportiveness of 53 experienced interviewers was assessed in their intervi...
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Full-text available
Socio-emotional dynamics were examined in 230 forensic interviews of 3- to -13-year-old Israeli children who disclosed chronic physical abuse that could be substantiated. Half of the children were interviewed using the Standard (SP) National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Protocol and the others using the Revised Protocol (RP) that...
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Full-text available
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to review an evidence-based tool for training child forensic interviewers called the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Protocol (NICHD Protocol), with a specific focus on how the Protocol is being adapted in various countries. Design/methodology/approach – The authors include internation...
Article
In this chapter, we review the developmental science of “Children and the Law” and our understanding of the diverse and broad array of cognitive, social, and emotional factors that developmental scientists have studied. To allow children to participate as fully as their abilities allow in legal decisions affecting their lives, it is important to un...
Article
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to review an evidence-based tool for training child forensic interviewers called the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Protocol (NICHD Protocol), with a specific focus on how the Protocol is being adapted in various countries. Design/methodology/approach – The authors include internation...
Article
Four hundred twenty-six 4- to 13-year-old suspected victims of intrafamilial abuse were interviewed using either the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) Investigative Interview Standard Protocol (SP) or a revised version of this Protocol (RP) designed to both enhance rapport between children and interviewers and provide...
Article
The primary aim of the study was to evaluate investigative interviews from the perspectives of the children, comparing children who drew with children who did not. One hundred twenty-five children, alleged victims of sexual abuse, were asked about their investigative experience. The uniqueness of the study is that all of the interviews were conduct...
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Child Sexual Abuse (CSA) is one widely cited risk factor for Sexually Intrusive Behavior (SIB) among boys. To identify variables that moderate the early onset of SIB in a sample of boys, alleged victims of sexual abuse, the current study involved a prospective examination of all investigations of male CSA victims and those of boys aged under 14 who...
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Professional guidelines for forensic interviews of children emphasize cognitive factors associated with memory retrieval and pay less attention to emotional factors that may inhibit cooperativeness. Can an additional focus on rapport-building alter the dynamics of interviews with alleged victims of intra-familial abuse, who are often uncooperative?...
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Objective: The present study was designed to test the effects of repeated retrievals in the course of forensic investigations with children who are the alleged victims of sexual abuse. Method: Using the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development protocol, 56 children participated in a first free-recall interview that was followed by a...
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13 Juin 2013 Publié dans Revue Internationale de CRIMINOLOGIE et de POLICE Technique et Scientifique 02/2013 L’audition de mineurs témoins ou victimes: l’efficacité du protocole du NICHD par Mireille Cyr, Jacinthe Dion, Irit Hershkowitz et Michael E. Lamb Résumé Cet article présente le protocole du National Institute of Child Health and Human Devel...
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This article presents the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Investigative Interview Protocol (NICHD), which was designed to interview children under twelve years who have witnessed a crime or have been victims of sexual or physical abuse or other forms of maltreatment. The objectives within each of the three phases of the Pro...
Article
Objective: The current study aimed to explore the frequency and effects of multipart prompts on the testimonies of children who were alleged victims of sexual abuse and were interviewed using the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) Investigative Protocol. The effects of the multipart prompts were studied by considering...
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Verbatim contemporaneous accounts of 20 investigative interviews were compared with audiotaped recordings thereof. More than half (57%) of the interviewers' utterances along with 25% of the incident-relevant details provided by the children were not reported in the verbatim notes. The structure of the interviews was also represented inaccurately in...
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The study focused on children's nonverbal behavior in investigative interviews exploring suspicions of child abuse. The key aims were to determine whether non-verbal behavior in the pre-substantive phases of the interview predicted whether or not children would disclose the alleged abuse later in the interview and to identify differences in the non...
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This study examined age differences in 299 preschoolers' responses to investigative interviewers' questions exploring the suspected occurrence of child abuse. Analyses focused on the children's tendencies to respond (a) at all, (b) appropriately to the issue raised by the investigator, and (c) informatively, providing previously undisclosed informa...
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Objectives. The goal of the study was to determine whether the criterion-based content analysis (CBCA) indicators of credibility were more likely to be elicited by open-ended interview prompts than by more directive prompts. Methods. Coders independently applied a revised CBCA coding scheme while others rated interviewer utterance types and the len...
Chapter
Effects of Social SupportPractical Guidelines for Establishing RapportStyle of Rapport BuildingLength of Rapport BuildingAge and Individual DifferencesEstablishing Rapport with Reluctant ChildrenDifficulties Investigators Face Establishing Rapport with Children Using Existing GuidelinesNew Guidelines for Enhancing Rapport BuildingThe Challenge for...
Article
Objectives: A commonly cited risk factor for sexually intrusive behavior (SIB) among children and adolescents is a history of abuse. Based on a large and non-clinical nationwide sample of children who were investigated as abuse victims and suspects of SIBs in Israel over a decade, the present study examines the rate of abuse history among child su...
Article
Fifty 4- to 13-year-olds were interviewed about incidents of sexual abuse that they had allegedly experienced. The interviewers employed an unusually high number of open-ended prompts, and the analyses focused on the effectiveness of different types of open-ended inquiries. Open-ended prompts yielded significantly longer and more detailed responses...
Article
Purpose. The study was designed to determine whether the contextual cues provided by visits to the scene of alleged incidents would facilitate the recall of information by alleged victims of child sexual abuse. Methods. Fifty-one 4- to 13-year-old children who had reported being victims of sexual abuse were interviewed in an investigator's office a...
Article
Purpose. The aim of the present study was to explore the nature and effectiveness of neutral and minimal facilitative prompts in forensic interviews with children, and the extent to which their effectiveness varies depending on their location relative to other prompts or on the stage of the interview.Method. Fifty forensic interviews with alleged v...
Chapter
How Commonly do Victims Disclose their Experiences?Interviewing Suspected Victims who are Reluctant to DiscloseTo What Extent do Reluctant Disclosers behave Like Non-Disclosers?How do Developmental and Demographic Factors Combine to Affect Disclosure?Interviewing Suspects Rather than VictimsConclusion
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The Interview is only part of the InvestigationWhich has the Experimental Literature Taught Us?Transforming Knowledge into PracticeThe ProtocolUsing the ProtocolThe Age ConundrumUsing Interviews to Inform InvestigationsChildren with Special NeedsCompetent Interviewers are Trained, not BornConclusion
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Typologies of Interactions during InterviewsDescribing Interview DynamicsSubsequent Descriptive StudiesConclusion
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Assessing CredibilityCriterion-Based Content AnalysisThe Israeli CBCA Validation StudyThe Effects of the Protocol on Credibility AssessmentThe Effect of the Protocol on the Elicitation of Investigative LeadsEffects of Protocol use on Case Disposition and ResolutionConclusion
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Can Human Figure Drawings and Anatomically Detailed Dolls help 5–7 Year Old Children to Report Touch?The effects of Free-Drawing as a means of Memory Self-CueingConclusion
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Characteristics of Participants in the Four Field StudiesSummary of the FindingsThe Role and Importance of TrainingThe Meaning of these FindingsStudies Examining Variants of the Protocol1. Visiting the Scene of the Alleged Crime (PCR)2. Mental Context Reinstatement (MCR)3. Interviewing Young WitnessesConclusion
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The Background: Interviewing and Child DevelopmentEvaluating the Structured ProtocolIs the Protocol Suitable for Interviews with Young Children?Interviewing Reluctant and Non-Compliant WitnessesImportance of TrainingOutline of the BookConclusion
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The Pre-Substantive Part of the InterviewThe Substantive Part of the InterviewThe Free Recall PhaseInformation about the DisclosureClosureVariants of the ProtocolConclusion
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IntroductionRapport BuildingTraining in Episodic MemoryThe Substantive Part of the InterviewTransition to Substantive IssuesInvestigating the IncidentsBreakEliciting Information that has not been Mentioned by the ChildIf Child Fails to Mention Information you ExpectedInformation about the DisclosureClosingNeutral Topic
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How Important is Continued Feedback?Can other Forms of Intensive Training Improve Interviewing?Lessons Learned about the Importance of TrainingConclusion
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The Development of Communicative SkillsThe Development of MemoryTypes of Questions used to Prompt Memory RetrievalAttempts to Enhance the amount of Information ReportedSuggestibility of Child WitnessesPersonality, Social Style, Shyness and RapportFantasyConclusion
Article
This study was designed to explore the effects of event drawing during investigative interviews on the richness of the accounts made by children. The sample included 125 children aged 4 to 14 years, alleged victims of sexual abuse. The children were first interviewed with open-ended invitations before they were randomly assigned into one of two int...
Article
Two socioemotional factors were explored in association with children's production of forensic information during sexual abuse investigations: rapport building and interviewer's support. The study tested to what extent (a) the length and questioning style in the rapport-building session and (b) the level of support interviewers provided to the chil...
Article
Intense professional and popular interest in child sexual abuse has been fed by dramatic increases in the number of reported cases and by awareness in the numbers of reported cases and by awareness that many instances of abuse might go unrecognised because the only possible sources of information—the victims—give little useful information to invest...
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Research on Invesligallve InterviewsFactors Influencing Children's InformativenessEnhancing Children's InformativenessConclusion References
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Forty-three victims of sexual abuse averaging 9.78 years of age and 52 youths who admitted abusing them were interviewed about the abusive incidents. Forensically relevant details provided by the victims were categorised as confirmed, contradicted or ignored by the perpetrators. Most (66.6%) of the details were ignored, but details were more likely...
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Multiple interviews with children alleging sexual abuse are not uncommon. Researchers expressed concern that repeated investigations may create and preserve inaccurate details. However, studies indicated that repeated open-ended interviews are not necessarily harmful and may have advantages. Forensic interviews were conducted with 40 children, alle...
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To show how the results of research on children's memory, communicative skills, social knowledge, and social tendencies can be translated into guidelines that improve the quality of forensic interviews of children. We review studies designed to evaluate children's capacities as witnesses, explain the development of the structured NICHD Investigativ...
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Children with disabilities (CWDs) are more likely to be victims of child abuse but may have more difficulty than their typically developing (TD) peers reporting their experiences. In this study, the authors examined the characteristics of abuse reported by CWDs based on forensic statements made by 40430 alleged abuse victims, 11% categorized as chi...
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The goal of the present study was to examine how children disclosed sexual abuse by alleged perpetrators who were not family members. Thirty alleged victims of sexual abuse and their parents were interviewed. The children were interviewed using the NICHD Investigative Interview Protocol by six experienced youth investigators. The same principles we...
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The study was designed to explore whether the credibility of children's statements regarding their alleged experiences of child sexual abuse could be assessed in a more valid and reliable way when investigative interviews were conducted using the NICHD protocol rather than in an unstructured manner. Forty-two experienced Israeli youth investigators...