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Interviewing Juveniles

Course Number: CR-506
Course Length: 1 Day (7.5 Hours)

Law enforcement officers are coming into contact with more juveniles each year - professionally. These young persons are offenders, victims, witnesses and suspects. The approach officers use when interviewing young persons affects the outcome of criminal cases, as well as the police-citizen relations with the community at large. This interactive workshop looks at juveniles within the subgroups of pre-school, school age, and adolescence. Each of these age groups have unique abilities and limitations as interviewees due to innate abilities and development. The mental and emotional composition of young persons requires different approaches to the interview process, whether it is as victim, witness, or suspect.

The workshop discusses cognitive development, metacognition, emotional development, adolescent egocentrism, and sense of identity issues that greatly affect the juvenile interview. Another major factor in adult-juvenile interactions involves the impact of social media, differences in their views of privacy, and attention difficulties. The interview process presented factors in all these considerations and stresses rapport-building, empathy, developmental assessment, and interview strategy.

Topics include detecting deception, impact of substance abuse, mental health issues, handing anger, and dealing with denials of suspects. The process encompasses environment staging, rapport development, interview preparation, obtaining the narrative, active listening, and interpretation of juvenile words, terms, and meanings. Participants identify their strengths and weaknesses in juvenile interviewing by formulating, posing, and discussing appropriate interview questions.

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