• Drawing the answers: Sketching to support free and probed recall by child witnesses and victims with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

      Mattison, Michelle L. A.; Dando, Coral J.; Ormerod, Thomas C.; University of Chester (SAGE, 2016-11-14)
      The success of witness interviews in the criminal justice system depends on the accuracy of information obtained, which is a function of both amount and quality of information. Attempts to enhance witness retrieval such as mental reinstatement of context have been designed with typically developed adults in mind. In this paper, the relative benefits of mental and sketch reinstatement mnemonics are explored with both typically developing children and children with autism. Children watched a crime event video, and their retrieval of event information was examined in free and probed recall phases of a cognitive interview. As expected, typically developing children recalled more correct information of all types than children with autism during free and probed recall phases. Sketching during free recall was more beneficial for both groups in both phases in reducing the amount of incorrect items, but the relative effect of sketching on enhancing retrieval accuracy was greater for children with autism. The results indicate the benefits of choosing retrieval mnemonics that are sensitive to the specific impairments of autistic individuals, and suggest that retrieval accuracy during interviews can be enhanced, in some cases to the same level as that of typically developing individuals.
    • No evidence against Sketch Reinstatement of Context, Verbal Labels or the use of Registered Intermediaries for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder: Response to Henry et al. (2017)

      Dando, Coral J.; Ormerod, Thomas C.; Cooper, Penny; Marchant, Ruth; Mattison, Michelle L. A.; Milne, Rebecca; Bull, Ray; University of Westminster; University of Sussex; City, University of London; Triangle Services; University of Chester; University of Portsmouth; University of Derby (Springer Verlag, 2018-02-13)
      Recently, Henry et al. (2017) found no evidence for the use of Verbal labels, Sketch Reinstatement of Context and Registered Intermediaries by forensic practitioners when interviewing children with a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder. We consider their claims, noting the limited ecological validity of the experimental paradigm, the impacts of repeated interviewing where retrieval support is not provided at first retrieval, question the interviewer/intermediary training and their population relevant experience, and comment on the suppression of population variances. We submit that rejecting these techniques on the basis of this study is completely unwarranted and potentially damaging, particularly if used in legal proceedings to undermine the value of testimony from children with ASD, who continually struggle to gain access to justice.
    • One step forward and two steps back? The ‘20 Principles’ for questioning vulnerable witnesses and the lack of an evidence-based approach.

      Cooper, Penny; Dando, Coral J.; Ormerod, Thomas C.; Mattison, Michelle L. A.; Marchant, Ruth; Milne, Rebecca; Bull, Ray; Birkbeck University of London; University of Westminster; University of Sussex; University of Chester, Triangle, University of Portsmouth, University of Derby (SAGE Publications, 2018-08-19)
      It is a widely held belief that questioning vulnerable witnesses is a specialist skill. In England and Wales vulnerable witness advocacy training built around ‘20 Principles’ has been developed and is being delivered. The 20 Principles do not cite a tested theoretical framework(s) or empirical evidence in support. This paper considers whether the 20 Principles are underpinned by research evidence. It is submitted that advocacy training and the approach to questioning witnesses in the courtroom should take into account the already available research evidence. The authors make recommendations for revision of the training and for a wider review of the approach taken to the handling of witness evidence.
    • Police officers’ and Registered Intermediaries’ use of drawing during investigative interviews with vulnerable witnesses

      Dando, Coral J.; Mattison, Michelle L. A.; University of Chester; University of Westminster (Taylor & Francis, 2019-09-19)
      Attempts to enhance episodic retrieval focus largely on verbal strategies which do not always address the limited or impaired free recall ability of vulnerable witnesses. Asking a witness to draw while recalling episodic information has long been deemed an effective method of improving communication and cognitive performance. Thus far, research has revealed these effects within laboratory settings but with scarce attention paid to real-life interview practice. In this paper, we explore police officers’ and Registered Intermediaries’ use of drawing during investigative interviews with vulnerable witnesses. A sample of specialist practitioners (n=85), comprising of vulnerable witness interviewing police officers (n=50) and Registered Intermediaries (n=35) completed a self-report questionnaire. As expected, frequent use of drawing was reported by both practitioner groups, and there was a positive correlation between reported use and perceived effectiveness. There were similarities between groups in reported techniques employed when using drawing, but some differences were apparent and these were attributed to the differing functions in police and Registered Intermediary roles. Overall, a consensus between empirical research and practice is evident, but these findings warrant further exploration in order to establish whether such practice is wide-spread.
    • Sketching to remember: Episodic free recall task support for child witnesses and victims with autism spectrum disorder

      Mattison, Michelle L. A.; Dando, Coral J.; Ormerod, Thomas C.; University of Chester ; University of Wolverhampton ; University of Sussex (2014-12-13)