Kathleen Macfarlane Case Study

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Interviews with children who have witnessed traumatic incidences can be very difficult to conduct because the objectives of identifying an accurate incidence without false accusation are hard to control. Upon looking at the interview conducted by Kathleen MacFarlane, a few issues stand out. One issue in this interview is that Macfarlane, begins the interview with the following statement, “Mr. Monkey is a little bit chicken, and he can't remember any of the naked games, but we think that you can, 'cause we know a naked games that you were around for, 'cause the other kids told us, and it's called Naked Movie Star. Do you remember that game, Mr. Alligator, or is your memory too bad?” Not only is this statement highly suggestive but the interviewer, …show more content…
For example, MacFarlane says, “You know that, Mr. Alligator? That means you're smart … you better not play dumb, Mr. Alligator,” while also stating, “What good are you? You must be dumb.” This suggests to the child that he or she should provide information; therefore, compelling the child into wanting to look smart by providing any information even if they may not be able to remember anything. Instead of encouraging the child to be truthful and just leave it up to the child to recall what happened, MacFarlane consistently suggests what happened, to which the child may have agreed to, just to not look “dumb.” Another example of suggestively used by MacFarlene is when she said, “Maybe. Mr. Alligator, you peeked in the window one day and saw them playing it, and maybe you could remember and help us.” This is a critical issue which has been addressed in many researches. One particular article entitled, “Investigative Interviews of Child Wittness in Sweden,” by Cederborg, Orbach, Sternberg, and Lamb looked at one hundred and one interviews of seventy-two victims, ages four to thirteen to of sexual abuse by six trained officers to assess what factors have an impact on the accuracy of information provided by the child (2000). The findings included that the six officers used suggestive language when questioning the child, as well as using close ended questions, rather than open-ended questions and free recall methods most of the time (Cederborg et al., 2000). The results conclude that due to the suggestive language and close ended question, there may have been a negative impact on the accuracy of the information the child provides (Cederborg et al., 2000). Suggesting the child is dumb for not being able to recall an event that occurred previously, could alter what the child says, he or she

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