• 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.
    • Stakeholders’ perceptions of the benefit of introducing an Australian Intermediary System for vulnerable witnesses

      Powell, Martine B.; Bowden, Phoebe; Mattison, Michelle L. A.; Deakin University; Lancaster University (SAGE, 2014-08-14)
      Vulnerable witnesses (e.g. children and adults with communication impairment) face many barriers to testifying and achieving justice when participating in the criminal justice system. To date, reforms have been implemented in Australia to address these, yet the barriers remain. Several other countries have implemented an intermediary scheme, whereby an independent third party assists vulnerable witnesses to understand the questions and processes encountered during interviews and trials, and helps witnesses to be understood. This study provides a qualitative analysis of stakeholders’ (N¼25 professionals) perceptions regarding the potential benefits of implementing an intermediary scheme in Australia. While all participants demonstrated an open-minded attitude to new reform in this area, their perspectives did not support the introduction of an intermediary scheme at this time. Stakeholders highlighted the need for improved use and effectiveness of current measures, and expressed concern about adding further complication to the system.