Thomas Lyon will test his techniques in the field for the first time
USC Gould School of Law professor is launching the first project in the nation that will systematically test child interviewing techniques in dependency courts and in the field.
Thomas Lyon will specifically examine whether open-ended, nonjudgmental questions prompt more detailed narratives from children — as they have proven in a lab setting.
Lyon was awarded a $2.9 million grant from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Development to build on his successful program focusing on maltreated children disclosures. He has spent the past two decades developing and refining methods to interview child witnesses.
As part of the new project, abused children ranging in age from 4 to 12 will be interviewed using Lyon’s groundbreaking strategies. The goal is to encourage children to reveal truthful information without increasing the risks of suggestibility or influence. Accurate and detailed testimony from children will enable the courts to better decide cases so that abused children will be protected and the rights of defendants preserved. [Read Full Article]