Do we need to rethink guidance on repeated interviews?

David La Rooy, Carmit Katz, Lindsay C. Malloy, Michael E. Lamb*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Within the legal system, children are frequently interviewed about their experiences more than once, with different information elicited in different interviews. The presumed positive and negative effects of multiple interviewing have generated debate and controversy within the legal system and among researchers. Some commentators emphasize that repeated interviews foster inaccurate recall and are inherently suggestive, whereas others emphasize the benefits of allowing witnesses more than 1 opportunity to recall information. In this article, we briefly review the literature on repeated interviewing before presenting a series of cases highlighting what happens when children are interviewed more than once for various reasons. We conclude that, when interviewers follow internationally recognized best-practice guidelines emphasizing open-questions and free memory recall, alleged victims of abuse should be interviewed more than once to ensure that more complete accounts are obtained. Implications for current legal guidelines concerning repeated interviewing are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)373-392
Number of pages20
JournalPsychology, Public Policy, and Law
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Child abuse
  • Reminiscence
  • Repeated interviews


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