Investigative interviewing, dissociative identity disorder and the role of the Registered Intermediary

Brendan O'Mahony, Becky Milne, Kevin Smith

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Abstract

Purpose - Intermediaries facilitate communication with many types of vulnerable witness during police investigative interviews. The purpose of this paper was to find out how intermediaries engage in their role in cases where the vulnerable witness presents with one type of vulnerability, namely, Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID).

Design / Methodology/ Approach - In phase one, data was obtained from the National Crime Agency Witness Intermediary Team to ascertain the demand for intermediaries in DID cases in England and Wales within a three-year period. In phase two of this study four intermediaries who had worked with witnesses with Dissociative Identity Disorder completed an in-depth questionnaire detailing their experience.

Findings - Referrals for DID are currently incorporated within the category of Personality Disorder in the Witness Intermediary Team database. Ten definite DID referrals and a possible additional ten cases were identified within this three-year period. Registered Intermediary participants reported having limited experience and limited specific training in dealing with DID prior to becoming a registered intermediary. Furthermore, intermediaries reported the many difficulties that they experienced with DID cases in terms of how best to manage the emotional personalities that may present.

Originality/value
- This is the first published study where intermediaries have shared their experiences about DID cases. It highlights the complexities of obtaining a coherent account from such individuals in investigative interviews.
Original languageEnglish
Journal The Journal of Forensic Practice
Early online date9 Jan 2018
DOIs
Publication statusEarly online - 9 Jan 2018

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