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Live Panel 2: "What works in Institutional Investigations: Vulnerability, Risks and Information-Gathering"

September 9th 2:00 – 4:00 pm BST

Andrea Pescod

Henry Otgaar

Dawn Benson

Christian Meissner

Panel Overview:

What works in Institutional Investigations: Vulnerability, Risks and Information-Gathering

The aim of this live panel is to highlight advances in evidence-based best practice interviewing in settings beyond the Criminal Justice System. As many organisations are at the beginning of the journey to apply evidence-based interviewing practices, now is an ideal opportunity for learning from the experience of others and further discussions about developments in the wider context. Our panel of international experts will answer questions from the audience and discuss how research can be applied and adapted in these alternative settings, the challenges and benefits of best-practice investigative interviewing in different contexts, and where further research may be required. 

Speaker Profiles:

Andrea Pescod:

Andrea is a Senior Investigating Officer within the Student Conduct Office at Durham University. She investigates potential breaches of Durham’s Sexual Misconduct and Violence Policy covering incidents including rape, sexual assault, sexual harassment, image-based sexual abuse, stalking and domestic abuse. The interviews within this setting are fair and impartial, trauma-informed and welfare-based. Andrea had previously worked for 27 years within the Metropolitan and Durham Constabularies mainly in a Detective and Detective Sergeant role. She specialised in complex sexual and violent offences within CID and Safeguarding hubs and worked alongside partners to address Child Abuse, Vulnerable Adult Abuse and High Risk Domestic Violence. Andrea was trained in ABE (Achieving Best Evidence), SCAIDIP (Specialist Child Abuse Investigation Development Programme) and Serious and Complex Interviewing Techniques prior to joining Durham University.

Henry Otgaar:

Prof. Otgaar’s research concentrates on the functioning of memory and its relation to statements in eyewitnesses and perpetrators. That is, his work focuses on developmental changes in memory from childhood to adulthood and he is interested in factors (e.g., trauma) that relate to the development of memory illusions. Furthermore, he has a strong interest in biases and legal decision-making and how biases can affect expert witness work. He collaborates with research groups in the United Kingdom, Belgium, Canada, Sweden, France, Australia, Chili, Romania, Italy, North America, and Indonesia. Furthermore, he has received awards for his research and teaching. Current studies focus on precursors of children’s and adults’ false memories, eyewitness memory, adaptive memory, delayed disclosure of sexual abuse, and interviewing children and adults. Prof. Otgaar has received many grants and prices for his work and has disseminated his work extensively to psychologists, students, and practitioners. His research often attracts national as international media attention. Also, he has often cooperated in legal cases involving (child) witnesses. Specifically, he works for the Maastricht Forensic Institute as an expert witness. Otgaar is also a member of the Landelijke Expertisegroep Bijzondere Zedenzaken and the College voor Toetsing en Advies of the Landelijke Deskundigheidsmakelaar. These committees fall under the National Police and in these committees, legal cases and expert witness work are discussed.


Dawn Benson: 

Dawn is a sociologist with a specialism in disability studies and inclusion. Much of her work has been in academia as a researcher and lecturer within healthcare, where she developed the concept of ‘high reliability parenting’ after undertaking research with families of birth injured infants. Dawn has worked at a number of universities in both social and medical sciences. Her most recent work, before joining HSIB, was with the Patient Safety Academy in Oxford lecturing and researching healthcare investigation and human factors.

Christian A. Meissner:

Christian A. Meissner is Professor of Psychology at Iowa State University. He holds a Ph.D. in Cognitive & Behavioral Science from Florida State University (2001) and conducts empirical studies on the psychological processes underlying investigative interviews, including issues surrounding eyewitness recall and identification, deception detection, and interrogations and confessions. His research has facilitated an understanding of factors that lead to false confessions, and the development of evidenced-based techniques for developing rapport and trust, enhancing recollection from memory, and improving assessments of credibility. Dr. Meissner has published more than 100 peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters, and edited volumes. He is a Fellow of the Association for Psychological Science, the American Psychological Association, and the Psychonomic Society.