The Open UniversitySkip to content

The memorandum of good practice: theory versus application

Sternberg, Kathleen J.; Lamb, Michael E.; Davies, Graham M. and Westcott, Helen L. (2001). The memorandum of good practice: theory versus application. Child Abuse and Neglect, 25(5) pp. 669–681.

DOI (Digital Object Identifier) Link:
Google Scholar: Look up in Google Scholar


Objective: The goal of this study was to evaluate the quality of investigative interviews in England and Wales since implementation of the Memorandum of Good Practice (MOGP), which specified how forensic interviews of alleged child abuse victims should be conducted.

Method: Transcripts of 119 videotaped interviews of alleged victims between the ages of 4 and 13 years were obtained from 13 collaborating police forces. Trained raters then classified the types of prompts used by the investigators to elicit substantive information from the children, and tabulated the number of forensically relevant details provided by the children in each response.

Results: Like their counterparts in the United States, Israel, and Sweden, forensic interviewers in England and Wales relied heavily on option-posing prompts, seldom using open-ended utterances to elicit information from the children. Nearly 40% of the information obtained was elicited using option-posing and suggestive prompts, which are known to elicit less reliable information than open-ended prompts do.

Conclusion: Despite the clarity and specificity of the MOGP, its implementation appears to have had less effect on the practices of forensic interviewers in the field than was hoped. Further work should focus on ways of training interviewers to implement the superior practices endorsed by the MOGP and similar professional guidelines.

Item Type: Journal Item
ISSN: 0145-2134
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) > Psychology
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS)
Research Group: International Centre for Comparative Criminological Research (ICCCR)
Item ID: 4124
Depositing User: Users 6043 not found.
Date Deposited: 03 Jul 2006
Last Modified: 04 Oct 2016 09:51
Share this page:


Altmetrics from Altmetric

Citations from Dimensions

Actions (login may be required)

Policies | Disclaimer

© The Open University   contact the OU