A flexible tool for practicing investigative interviews with children – Whitepaper about the AvBIT Labs Avatar

This whitepaper describes the results of a pilot project to integrate interview practice using a child avatar with theoretical training. It describes the setup of the avatar-based forensic interview practice, which aims to give participants the possibility to exercise their acquired theoretical knowledge from an initial week of education. It also provides the outcomes of an analysis of the avatar tool, both from the point of view from the trainees, and also from reviewing their recorded practice interviews.

In the PROMISE 3 courses, participants received written case briefs to use in a roleplay. The one who roleplayed as the child received extensive information about what has happened the child. The interviewer received just a little initial information about the case. The case briefs covered assault, multiple cases of assault, sexual violence, and internet related crimes. The roleplays were recorded, and the participants then analysed the interviews with support of a feedback manual.

Our analysis shows promising results about the self-reported usefulness of the Avatar platform, and also points to challenges for how to use it, as well as solutions which can be addressed as part of onboarding and documentation.