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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Forensic Investigators' Perceptions of Animal-Assisted Intervention during Investigations of Child Sexual Abuse: An Exploratory Study
by Mims, Debra A., D.B.A., Northcentral University, 2016, 178; 10181741
Abstract (Summary)

The positive psychosocial association between humans and animals suggests there may be a specific utilitarian task in which canines could assist and enhance interactions that extends beyond the field of behavioral sciences and into other fields, such as criminal justice. Additional research is needed in order to study the efficacy of incorporating AAI into the interview process by law enforcement when questioning children of suspected abuse. Interviews with sexually abused children can be ineffective in producing clear and usable evidence for prosecution due to increased anxiety, stress and fear. The purpose of this qualitative study was to ascertain the viewpoints, opinions and perspectives of forensic investigators regarding the utilization of AAI in the interviewing of sexually abused children. Specifically, how the introduction of AAI affects the ability of forensic investigators to obtain critical information when interviewing children of sexual abuse. Participants who utilize AAI while investigating children of sexual abuse were identified through purposive sampling via recruitment email flyer (Appendix A). This qualitative exploratory study conducted in-depth telephone interviews with five forensic investigators who utilize AAI while investigating children of suspected sexual abuse. Data analysis was consistent with existing literature and findings suggest when implemented as part of an effort to improve practice, AAIs could complement the interview process and help to alleviate anxiety, stress and fear and improve emotional and cognitive behavior. The participants’ narratives identified several key factors associated with the use of AAI: better rapport with the victim, reduced stress and anxiety, and ability to obtain more information from the victim. Data obtained from this research provided additional insight into this phenomenon and can help guide the direction of future research.

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Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Converso, Judith
Commitee: Lowe, Andrea, Suboch, Gabrielle
School: Northcentral University
Department: School of Business and Technology Management
School Location: United States -- Arizona
Source: DAI-B 78/05(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Animal sciences, Criminology
Keywords: Animal assisted activities, Animal assisted intervention, Animal assisted therapy, Child abuse, Child sexual abuse, Forensic interviewing, Forensic investigations
Publication Number: 10181741
ISBN: 978-1-369-30275-2
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