Testing the effectiveness of a blended vulnerable witness training for forensic interviewers

Miss Melanie Lawrie1, Dr Sonja P. Brubacher1, Dr Becky Earhart1, Dr Martine B. Powell1, Ms Linda C. Steele2, Dr David Boud3

1Griffith University, Mount Gravatt, Australia
2National Children’s Advocacy Centre, Huntsville, USA
3Centre for Research in Assessment and Digital Learning, Deakin University, Geelong, Australia


The current study tested the effectiveness of a compact (18 hour) and blended (involving online and face-to-face components) training course, adapted from a previously evaluated course found to be successful in fostering long-term change in interviewing skill. The compact course was developed by trimming the previous course to only include learning activities that empirically demonstrated improvement of interviewing skills. There were 41US forensic interviewers, with prior training experience, who took part in the research. Their interviewing habits were assessed using standardized mock interviews immediately prior to, and at the conclusion of training. A subset were assessed 9-24months later. Results demonstrated that, despite reductions in length and content, training was effective in the short term and the subset maintained trained behaviors up to 24months after completion. Results suggest that adjustments to training can be effective if the training remains founded on principles of human learning.


Melanie Lawrie is a third year doctoral candidate in the School of Criminology at Griffith University, Australia. Melanie is an American with a Master’s degree in Psychology from Montclair State University in New Jersey. Currently, she works with her supervisors in the Centre for Investigative Interviewing.