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The UCI Initiative to End Family Violence (IEFV) presents

Interviewing Children to Obtain Reliable Evidence: Considerations and Challenges

featuring Jodi A. Quas, Ph.D.
Jodi quas thumbnail.Professor of Psychology & Social Behavior and Nursing Science
University of California, Irvine

Date: Wednesday, March 8, 2017
Time: 4:30 – 6:00 p.m.
Location: UCI Law School, EDU 1131 (directions/parking)
Parking is $10 in the Social Science Parking Structure.

This event is approved for 1.5 hours of Minimum Continuing Legal Education Credit by the State Bar of California. UC Irvine School of Law is a State Bar-approved MCLE provider.

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Abstract

Unfortunately, children, like adults, can be victims of or witnesses to crime, and as a result, be questioned about their memory and perceptions of what occurred. The accuracy of the information children provide has profound implications for the progression and eventual outcome of any ensuing legal intervention. Even outside of the criminal justice system, children are routinely asked about their experiences, knowledge, and needs, and their responses affect a range of outcomes, such as, for instance, with whom children might live following a divorce, whether social services needs to provide additional counselling, and the like. An impressive body of scientific research has revealed that how children are questioned directly affects the accuracy and completeness of the information they provide. In this presentation, Dr. Jodi Quas will review findings from this work regarding best-practice interviewing strategies that (a) increase children’s initial willingness to disclose negative experiences, (b) increase the amount of detail children provide about those experiences, and (c) reduce children’s tendency to err. She will also describe ongoing controversies regarding interviewing practices and children’s reporting tendencies. The research presented is relevant to a range of legal, scientific, and other professionals who work with children and who are charged with the sometimes task of obtaining reliable and useful information from children about their knowledge, needs, or experiences.

About Jodi A. Quas

Jodi A. Quas, Ph.D. is a Professor of Psychology & Social Behavior and Nursing Science at UC, Irvine. Her research interests include memory development in early childhood, effects of stress and trauma on children’s development, and children’s involvement in the legal system. Her specific interests include strategies to improve children’s narrative productivity and accuracy; the effects of stress on children’s memory; emotional regulation and physiological reactivity as predictors of children’s coping with and memory for stressful events; jurors’ perceptions of child witnesses; and consequences of legal involvement on child witnesses and victims. Dr. Quas is also the 2016 Chair of APA’s Committee on Children, Youth, and Families.