Investigative interviews with alleged victims and witnesses in Israel: Consequences of the 1955 law for practice

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Abstract

Exploring the issue of interviewing victims or witnesses in Israel reveals a considerable gap between different groups of victims and witnesses, resulting mainly from legislative and organisational differences. The relevant legislation and organisations differ depending on the ages of the victims or witnesses. Based on the notion that children can be adversely harmed by repeated interviews and cross-examination, the Israeli legislature initiated the Law of Evidence Revision Protection of Children, which was passed by the Israel Knesset in 1955. This law prioritises children’s well-being over the basic rights of a suspect, and it was initiated to ensure that children would not be further traumatised in the forensic process. This law requires all children who were victims or witnesses of violence to be interviewed by a special practitioner (‘a child forensic interviewer’). The child forensic interviewer is a social worker who works within the welfare office, in the Service of Investigative Interviews. The child forensic interviewers have extensive powers in the investigation process and play a major role in any trials that follow. A recent law in Israel (2010) recognised another vulnerable group of victims and witnesses: young people and adults with developmental disabilities, such as autism spectrum disorder. This law granted to the Service of Investigative Interviews with Children the duty of interviewing them.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInternational Developments and Practices in Investigative Interviewing and Interrogation
Subtitle of host publicationVolume 1: Victims and witnesses
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Pages32-42
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9781317670155
ISBN (Print)9781138781740
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2017

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