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Child-Maltreatment-Research-L (CMRL) List Serve

Database of Past CMRL Messages

Welcome to the database of past Child-Maltreatment-Research-L (CMRL) list serve messages. The table below contains all past CMRL messages (text only, no attachments) from Nov. 20, 1996 - December 22, 2017 and is updated quarterly.

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Message ID: 8049
Date: 2009-01-24

Author:Eric Mart

Subject:Re: Extended Forensic Interviews

Marc, I don't disagree with your points. In fact, I have an article coming out in a forthcoming issue of The Journal of Psychiatry and Law that notes that a common mistake of investigators is not deviating from the protocol when there is good reason to do so. Example would be STDs, prior detailed statements to teachers etc. That's what I mean by a darn good reason. But there are CACs here in New England that routinely do 6-8 interviews (generally unrecorded) if the child does not make a disclosure under more mundane circumstances and sometimes even if the do make a disclosure. IMHO, this occurs when investigators stop using an hypothesis testing model and no longer see themselves as providing information to the fact finder but as the fact finder themselves. From a practical standpoint, I personally don't want to see a child sent back to their abuser because my methodology is unsupported nor do I want to spend a day on the stand being beaten over the head (figuratively) with the works of Ceci and Bruck and Lamb et al. Eric G. Mart, Ph.D., ABPP (Forensic) 311 Highlander Way Manchester, New Hampshire 03103 Ph. 603/626-0966not Fax 603/622-7012 www.psychology-law.com ----- Original Message ----- From: Chaffin, Mark J. (HSC) To: Child Maltreatment Researchers Sent: Saturday, January 24, 2009 6:49 AM Subject: RE: Extended Forensic Interviews The usual "darn good reason" for extended interview is a case like the following--a) Significant but not totally conclusive evidence of abuse that can't be easily dismissed; and b) a child that gave a fairly unresponsive or vage initial interview that was inconclusive. The available research suggests that following an extended interview, interviews don't all come to the same conclusion--sometimes concluding that abuse was likely, sometimes that it was unlikely, and sometimes that things are still inconclusive. So, I think we can say that the protocols don't reflect some sort of automatic confirmation bias. Naturally, lacking crystal balls which might reveal the ultimate truth of the matter, its hard to say whether they get us to bedrock truth. In the research, as usual, one trades internal validity for external validity on this type of question. It is clear that extended interviews help interviewers make up their minds, if that has any value. But the real question is, given the usual indicator circumstances for conducting an extended interview (enough evidence to create real worry that can't be dismissed, plus a vague or inconclusive initial interview) what are your options? For example--a six year old has gonnorhea, and when interviewed says very little at all. What do you do? Punt and make it someone else's problem? Say we'll never figure this one out and that its just inconclusive (not necessarily a bad option ultimately, but the question is are you really there yet)? Flip a coin? Give psychological tests or lie detectors or Ouija boards (heaven save us from this pseudoscience)? I would imagine that a carefully conducted extended interview might be the lesser of the evils here. MC ________________________________ From: Eric G. Mart [emart@comcast.net] Sent: Friday, January 23, 2009 2:04 PM Subject: Re: Extended Forensic Interviews Shelly, I wouldn't do them without a darn good reason. I think it is important to remember that everyone doing CSA assessments is going to have their methodology and performance assessed with regard to the extent to which it comports with the Lamb et al NICHD protocol, and that does not included repeated interviewing. In the absence of any actually empirical proof that extended forensic assessment improves accurate recall without increasing errors, I'd avoid the practice. Eric G. Mart, Ph.D., ABPP (Forensic) 311 Highlander Way Manchester, New Hampshire 03103 Ph. 603/626-0966 Fax 603/622-7012 www.psychology-law.com ----- Original Message ----- From: Jackson, Shelly L *HS To: 'Child Maltreatment Researchers' Sent: Friday, January 23, 2009 8:13 AM Subject: Extended Forensic Interviews I would like ask the research and the practitioner communities to weigh in on a debate about extended forensic interviews (EFEs). We are in the midst of a debate in our community and I would like to hear what other communities are doing. I am familiar with the literature, but I’d like to hear researcher’s assessments of that research base. I’d also like to learn what practitioners in other communities are doing or thinking about in terms of EFEs. Thanks so much. ________________________________

Marc, I don't disagree with your points. In fact, I have an article coming out in a forthcoming issue of The Journal of Psychiatry and Law that notes that a common mistake of investigators is not deviating from the protocol when there is good reason to do so. Example would be STDs, prior detailed statements to teachers etc. That's what I mean by a darn good reason. But there are CACs here in New England that routinely do 6-8 interviews (generally unrecorded) if the child does not make a disclosure under more mundane circumstances and sometimes even if the do make a disclosure. IMHO, this occurs when investigators stop using an hypothesis testing model and no longer see themselves as providing information to the fact finder but as the fact finder themselves. From a practical standpoint, I personally don't want to see a child sent back to their abuser because my methodology is unsupported nor do I want to spend a day on the stand being beaten over the head (figuratively) with the works of Ceci and Bruck and Lamb et al. Eric G. Mart, Ph.D., ABPP (Forensic) 311 Highlander Way Manchester, New Hampshire 03103 Ph. 603/626-0966not Fax 603/622-7012 www.psychology-law.com ----- Original Message ----- From: Chaffin, Mark J. (HSC) To: Child Maltreatment Researchers Sent: Saturday, January 24, 2009 6:49 AM Subject: RE: Extended Forensic Interviews The usual "darn good reason" for extended interview is a case like the following--a) Significant but not totally conclusive evidence of abuse that can't be easily dismissed; and b) a child that gave a fairly unresponsive or vage initial interview that was inconclusive. The available research suggests that following an extended interview, interviews don't all come to the same conclusion--sometimes concluding that abuse was likely, sometimes that it was unlikely, and sometimes that things are still inconclusive. So, I think we can say that the protocols don't reflect some sort of automatic confirmation bias. Naturally, lacking crystal balls which might reveal the ultimate truth of the matter, its hard to say whether they get us to bedrock truth. In the research, as usual, one trades internal validity for external validity on this type of question. It is clear that extended interviews help interviewers make up their minds, if that has any value. But the real question is, given the usual indicator circumstances for conducting an extended interview (enough evidence to create real worry that can't be dismissed, plus a vague or inconclusive initial interview) what are your options? For example--a six year old has gonnorhea, and when interviewed says very little at all. What do you do? Punt and make it someone else's problem? Say we'll never figure this one out and that its just inconclusive (not necessarily a bad option ultimately, but the question is are you really there yet)? Flip a coin? Give psychological tests or lie detectors or Ouija boards (heaven save us from this pseudoscience)? I would imagine that a carefully conducted extended interview might be the lesser of the evils here. MC ________________________________ From: Eric G. Mart [emartcomcast.net] Sent: Friday, January 23, 2009 2:04 PM Subject: Re: Extended Forensic Interviews Shelly, I wouldn't do them without a darn good reason. I think it is important to remember that everyone doing CSA assessments is going to have their methodology and performance assessed with regard to the extent to which it comports with the Lamb et al NICHD protocol, and that does not included repeated interviewing. In the absence of any actually empirical proof that extended forensic assessment improves accurate recall without increasing errors, I'd avoid the practice. Eric G. Mart, Ph.D., ABPP (Forensic) 311 Highlander Way Manchester, New Hampshire 03103 Ph. 603/626-0966 Fax 603/622-7012 www.psychology-law.com ----- Original Message ----- From: Jackson, Shelly L *HS To: 'Child Maltreatment Researchers' Sent: Friday, January 23, 2009 8:13 AM Subject: Extended Forensic Interviews I would like ask the research and the practitioner communities to weigh in on a debate about extended forensic interviews (EFEs). We are in the midst of a debate in our community and I would like to hear what other communities are doing. I am familiar with the literature, but I’d like to hear researcher’s assessments of that research base. I’d also like to learn what practitioners in other communities are doing or thinking about in terms of EFEs. Thanks so much. ________________________________