A structured forensic interview protocol improves the quality and informativeness of investigative interviews with children: a review of research using the NICHD Investigative Interview Protocol

Child Abuse Negl. 2007 Nov-Dec;31(11-12):1201-31. doi: 10.1016/j.chiabu.2007.03.021. Epub 2007 Nov 19.


Objective: To show how the results of research on children's memory, communicative skills, social knowledge, and social tendencies can be translated into guidelines that improve the quality of forensic interviews of children.

Method: We review studies designed to evaluate children's capacities as witnesses, explain the development of the structured NICHD Investigative Interview Protocol, and discuss studies designed to assess whether use of the Protocol enhances the quality of investigative interviews.

Results: Controlled studies have repeatedly shown that the quality of interviewing reliably and dramatically improves when interviewers employ the NICHD Protocol. No other technique has been proven to be similarly effective.

Conclusions: Use of the structured NICHD Protocol improves the quality of information obtained from alleged victims by investigators, thereby increasing the likelihood that interventions will be appropriate.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child Abuse, Sexual / psychology*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Forensic Psychiatry*
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic / standards*
  • Quality Control