Police Forensic Interview Practice on Sexually Abused Children: The case of Selected Women and Children Protection and Investigation Units in Addis Ababa

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Addis Ababa University


This study explored police forensic interview practice on sexually abused children at Gandhi Memorial Hospital, Arada and Yeka Women and Children Protection and Investigation Units. To this end, qualitative method with case study approach was used and purposive sampling technique was employed to select the study settings. The total participants in the study were 17 where seven are investigative police officers, three public prosecutors and three social workers and four individual who are in administration position at the selected settings. In-depth interview with the police, social workers and prosecutors and key informant interview with the administrators were employed. Observation and document reviews were also utilized to collect data. Thematic analysis was used to analysis the data. The finding show that thought the police are familiar with some of the interview phases stated in the Federal Supreme Court Interview Techniques Guideline, they have poor understanding with most of the phases and the interview questions indicated in each phase. As per the guideline, free narrative/open-ended questions are preferable as they give the chance to the child to describe the abuse by his/her own words, the police however tend to get information quickly by sticking on the suggestive ones. The police have some sort of work relationship with the social workers and prosecutors in the forensic interview practice however there is lack of recognition of each professional's role in the forensic interview and no protocol that envisage the role and responsibilities of each professional and their overall relationship. The major challenges of forensic interview practice includes lack of training, lack of feedback and supervision, lack of stress management mechanism, improper interview room settings, duplication of interviews, turnover of forensic interviewers. Among other things, the study indicated that forensic interviewers need to be trained to improve their skill of forensic interview techniques accompanied with regular feedback and supervision and there should be guideline that govern their role and responsibilities in the forensic interview. Further research with a larger sample of participants is needed to better understand forensic interview of sexually abused children.



explored police forensic interview practice, on sexually abused children at Gandhi Memorial Hospital