Estonia: Improving the police investigators' quality of investigative interviews via simulated interview software

Previous research demonstrated that repeated feedback in simulated investigative interviews with computerised child avatars (a piece of software called Empowering Interview Training) improves the quality of interviews conducted with real children. It is, however, not known whether this type of training would also improve the quality of investigative interviews with actual child victims and witnesses. 22 police officers from Estonia participated in a study where half of them received feedback during four simulated interviews, whereas the other half received no feedback during four such interviews, followed by another four interviews, after which they also received feedback. Transcripts of the real interviews with actual child victims and witnesses before and after the training were coded. In avatar training, the proportion of recommended questions were correlated with the number of correct details in the avatars’ answers. In the real interviews, the proportion of recommended questions increased by 23% when comparing interviews before to after EIT training.

The project ran between 16 March 2017 and 30 September 2021.

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