The Centre of Forensic Interviewing held the Children, Justice and Communication Conference on Thursday 4 and Friday 5 May 2017.

This conference brought together academics and practitioners from a host of organisations, including: the police, NCA, social services, CPS, judiciary, probation, education, and intelligence agencies. It aimed to examine how we should best communicate with children in jeopardy, and presented the following symposia:

  • Defining children and safeguarding: Dr John Fox (University of Portsmouth)
    Children in cults, age of criminal responsibility, children and deception.
  • Vulnerability and Special measures: Professor Penny Cooper (Roehampton University) and Ruth Marchant (Triangle)
    What are special measures? Interviewing children with ASD, the Advocate's Gateway, what is vulnerability?
  • Children as witnesses: Prof Ray Bull (University of Derby) and Dr Julie Cherryman (University of Portsmouth)
    Children as CHIS, how to get best information and evidence from children, communicating with children who have been trafficked, radicalised.
  • Children as suspects: Prof. Miet Vanderhallen (University of Antwerp)
    Are the safeguards sufficient, what interview strategies should be used? How do defence solicitors treat children?
  • Children and probation: Dr Aaron Pycroft (University of Portsmouth)
    What support exists for children? What happens to the child soldier?

Papers presented:

  • 'Self-Assessment of Specialist Interviews' – Dr Lucy Akehurst, Dr Julie Cherryman, Det. Sup. Scott Mackechnie, Mr Ian Watt
  • 'Investigating effective ways to interview children with ASD who are witnesses or defendants in the criminal justice system – A researcher’s perspective; what does the research tell us?' – Dr Clare Allely
  • 'Police interviews of child suspects: neglected in a time of change' – Piers von Berg and Dr Kate Gooch
  • 'Addressing Complex Needs Post Custody' – Dr Jonathan Bigg
  • 'I put it to you, that an answer such as that, in a court of law is inappropriate – what’s your view?' – Ray Bull
  • 'Positive Youth Justice: Children First, Offenders Second' – Professor Steve Case and Ben Byrne
  • 'Best laid plans? The function of intermediary assessment in interview planning' – Dr. Kimberly Collins
  • 'Children, Justice and Communication' – Penny Cooper
  • 'Vulnerability to the transmission of terrorism in families' – Simon Copeland
  • 'Extra Special Measures': very young or traumatised children at interview or trial – extraordinary adjustments or reasonable adjustments? – Ruth Marchant
  • 'Measuring "Special Measures": How might pre-recorded cross-examination and aids to communication help (or hinder) vulnerable witnesses?' – Dr Michelle Mattison
  • 'Investigating effective ways to interview children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) who are witnesses or defendants in the criminal justice system – a practitioner’s perspective' – Charlie Orrell
  • '"The voice of the child." A research project focusing on the implementation of the UNCRC within domestic policy and its implications for youth justice' – Ioannis Papadopoulos
  • 'Youth Justice, Its Aftermath and the Voice of the Child' – Dr Aaron Pycroft
  • 'Safeguarding Unaccompanied Migrant Minors Who Go Missing across the EU' – Dr. Karen Shalev Greene
  • 'The Operational Challenges of ABE in CSE Investigations' – Kev Smith
  • 'Radicalisation, de-Radicalisation, Families and Therapy' – Professor Basia Spalek and Robina Zafar
  • 'The vulnerability of growing up on the religious fringe' – Amanda van Eck Duymaervan Twist
  • 'Juveniles as suspects: Assessing the bad boy' – Miet Vanderhallen
  • 'Protecting bad boys: Bringing in the lawyer' – Miet Vanderhallen, Dorris de Vocht, Michele Panzavolta & Marc van Oosterhout
  • 'Managing Forensic Interviews with Child Suspects: Assessing the Risks in High Stake Investigations' – Martin Vaughan

Further Information

For further information, please contact Dr Fiona Wadie (

Conference sponsored by Crest Research. (ESRC Award: ES/N009614/1)‌