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    Evidence-based Child Forensic Interviewing: The Developmental Narrative Elaboration Interview

    By: Karen J. Saywitz

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    Interviewers face a dilemma when questioning children in a forensic context--an inherent mismatch between the needs of the legal system and the capabilities of young children. This is especially problematic when legal decisions with potentially serious consequences depend on the results of the interview, such as in cases involving eyewitness memory, divorce, and allegations of abuse and neglect. Without accommodations to a childs developmental level, interviews can result in false reports, miscommunication, and misinterpretation, despite an interviewers best intentions. Evidence-based Child Forensic Interviewing addresses this discrepancy and presents an innovative approach to close the gap by providing the scaffolding, structure, and guidance children need to perform optimally. Created by Drs. Karen J. Saywitz and Lorinda B. Camparo and outlined in this guide, the Developmental Narrative Elaboration (DNE) Interview is an evidence-based step-by-step process and set of techniques for forensic contexts designed to help children ages 3-12 accurately tell as much as they can about their experiences and perceptions. The DNE is comprised of a developmentally sensitive core template and optional techniques that can be embedded at the interviewers discretion as cases unfold. This book reviews the relevant research and then, with sample language, transcripts, and suggested activities, details a three-phased interview with examples. This empirically supported guide is designed to meet the needs of both novice and seasoned professionals in mental health, social service, law enforcement, and the legal system when childrens input is needed for legal and social-service decision making.

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