Applied Linguistics FINAL MARCH 2018.pdf (290.37 kB)

Establishing intellectually impaired victims’ understanding about ‘truth’ and ‘lies’: Police interview guidance and practice in cases of sexual assault

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journal contribution
posted on 01.05.2018, 13:46 by Emma Richardson, Elizabeth Stokoe, Charles Antaki
Effective police interviews are central to the justice process for sexual assault victims, but little is known about actual communication between police officers and witnesses, nor about the alignment between guidance and real practice. This study investigated how police officers, in formal interviews, follow ‘best evidence’ guidance to obtain victims’ demonstrable understandings of ‘truth and lies’. We conducted qualitative conversation analysis of 20 evidentiary interviews between police officers and victims who were ‘vulnerable’ adults, or children. Analysis revealed that interviewers initiated conversation about truth and lies inappropriately in three ways: 1) by eliciting confirmations rather than demonstrations of understanding; 2) by eliciting multiple demonstrations and confirmations of understanding, or 3) by re-introducing ‘truth and lies’ conversations at incorrect points in the interview. Both 2) and 3) imply prior or forthcoming dishonesty on the part of the victim. In the context of encouraging victims to report sexual assault, and achieve justice, the paper reveals potential communicative barriers in which victims – or their evidence – may be discredited right at the start of the process.

History

School

  • Social Sciences

Department

  • Communication, Media, Social and Policy Studies

Published in

Applied Linguistics

Volume

40

Issue

5

Pages

773–792

Citation

RICHARDSON, E., STOKOE, E. and ANTAKI, C., 2018. Establishing intellectually impaired victims’ understanding about ‘truth’ and ‘lies’: Police interview guidance and practice in cases of sexual assault. Applied Linguistics, 40(5), pp. 773–792.

Publisher

© The Authors. Published by Oxford University Press (OUP)

Version

AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Publisher statement

This is a pre-copyedited, author-produced version of an article accepted for publication in Applied Linguistics following peer review. The version of record RICHARDSON, E., STOKOE, E. and ANTAKI, C., 2018. Establishing intellectually impaired victims’ understanding about ‘truth’ and ‘lies’: Police interview guidance and practice in cases of sexual assault. Applied Linguistics, 40(5), pp. 773–792 is available online at: https://academic.oup.com/applij/article/40/5/773/5035076 and https://doi.org/10.1093/applin/amy023.

Acceptance date

16/04/2018

Publication date

2018-06-08

Copyright date

2018

ISSN

0142-6001

Language

en

Exports