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Title: Police interviews with vulnerable people alleging sexual assault: probing inconsistency and questioning conduct
Authors: Antaki, Charles
Richardson, Emma
Stokoe, Elizabeth
Willott, Sara
Issue Date: 2015
Publisher: © Wiley
Citation: ANTAKI, C. ... et al, 2015. Police interviews with vulnerable people alleging sexual assault: probing inconsistency and questioning conduct. Journal of Sociolinguistics, 19 (3), pp.328–350
Abstract: Reporting sexual assault to the authorities is fraught with difficulties, and these are compounded when the complainant is hindered by an intellectual disability (ID). In a study of 19 UK police interviews with complainants with ID alleging sexual assault and rape, we found that most interviewing officers on occasion pursued lines of questioning which not only probed inconsistencies (which is mandated by their guidelines), but implicitly questioned complainants' conduct (which is not). We detail two main conversational practices which imply disbelief and disapproval of the complainants' accounts and behaviour, and whose pragmatic entailments may pose problems for complainants with ID. Such practices probably emerge from interviewers' foreshadowing of the challenges likely to be made in court by defence counsel. As a policy recommendation, we suggest providing early explanation for the motivation for such questioning, and avoiding certain question formats (especially how come you did X? and why didn't you do Y?).
Description: This paper is embargoed until 22nd July 2017.
Version: Accepted for publication
DOI: 10.1111/josl.12124
URI: https://dspace.lboro.ac.uk/2134/18013
Publisher Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/josl.12124
ISSN: 1467-9841
Appears in Collections:Closed Access (Social Sciences)

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