It is better, but does it look better? Prosecutor perceptions of using rape complainant investigative interviews as evidence

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Westera, Nina J
Kebbell, Mark R
Milne, Becky
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2013
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Abstract

This study used a mixed methods design to explore prosecutor perceptions (N=30) of using video-recorded investigative interviews of adult rape complainants as their evidence in court. Prosecutors first rated 'mock' transcript excerpts from a complainant interview where questions were either (1) inappropriately closed and leading or (2) appropriately open. Complainants' responses were rated as less accurate and prosecutors reported that they would be less likely to recommend charges in the inappropriate compared with the appropriate questioning condition. When asked about the advantages of using the video-recorded interview as evidence many prosecutors cited the improved quality of information, credibility and an improved process for rape complainants. Disadvantages cited included that the cognitive interview format used by police would negatively affect juror credibility judgments. Prosecutors rated the characteristics of an 'ideal' video-recorded interview as being similar regardless of whether this was for police investigative reasons or for court prosecution. These findings suggest that using investigative interviews as evidence may be one way of improving the quality of rape complainant testimony.

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Psychology, Crime & Law

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19

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7

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Criminology

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