Best practices for interviewing children with intellectual disabilities in maltreatment cases

Joshua D. Wyman*, Jennifer Lavoie, Victoria Talwar

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

Globally, children with intellectual disabilities are at an increased risk of being victims of maltreatment compared to those without disabilities. Among the children who do disclose the abuse, limitations with communication and working memory can result in their allegation being perceived as not credible. There are several evidence-based interviewing methods available to interviewers for improving the accuracy and amount of detail in children’s testimonies, such as free-recall and cognitive load questioning. In general, these interviewing methods have been developed and tested with typically developing populations, and do not take into consideration the needs of children with intellectual disabilities. Further, there is very little empirical work to guide forensic interviews with intellectually disabled populations, despite there being a great need for such strategies. To address this notable gap in the literature, the current article reviews the contemporary literature on forensic interviewing to identify the best methods for questioning children with intellectual disabilities in maltreatment cases. Adaptations to the commonly used forensic interviewing techniques, including verbal, nonverbal, and repeated questioning strategies, are proposed that address the unique developmental, social, and emotional needs of this population. Furthermore, a series of recommendations are provided to enhance the limited forensic interviewing research with this population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)167-184
Number of pages18
JournalExceptionality
Volume27
Issue number3
Early online date2 Feb 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jul 2019

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