Working With Children? The University of Portsmouth Is The Place To Be.

The course syllabus commences with a general introduction to relevant aspects of child development and continues with units on law and procedures, investigative interviewing of children, and children in court. The course progresses to look at abuse, children as perpetrators, detecting deception, and the effects of abuse as well as treatment issues. Students who complete successfully these topics can exit with a Postgraduate Diploma or continue to conduct a research methods assessment and research project relating to child witnessing to obtain an MSc. This distance learning course has seen students, including many police officers, graduate with an MSc qualification often with little previous experience of academia.

The two latest police officers to graduate (2007) with an MSc in Child Forensic Studies: Psychology and Law demonstrate the diversity of research projects students complete at this level. Sarah Manton, supervised by Dr Lucy Akehurst, investigated the efficacy of Statement Validity Analysis (a truth verifying procedure) using real life child witness statements. Mick Worthington, supervised by Dr Julie Cherryman, investigated an innovative interview procedure for interviewing children with learning disabilities. Both have made excellent contributions to knowledge and practice. Research findings such as these are disseminated in psychology journals and at conferences.

The next one-day conference to be hosted by the International Centre for Research in Forensic Psychology at the University of Portsmouth, is aimed at informing practitioners, including police officers, about the latest research findings related to child witnessing. The Centre is proud to announce nationally and internationally renowned academics and practitioners who are to present at the conference. The speakers will discuss research findings on the use of intermediaries for vulnerable witnesses (Joyce Plotnikoff); provide insight from first-hand experiences of setting up a young witness service (Kathy Rowe); discuss issues surrounding the investigative interviewing of child victims of abuse (Clare Wilson); summarise the current research on detecting deception in children (Aldert Vrij); and highlight issues concerning the false memory debate and implications for childhood memories of abuse (Kathy Pezdek). The conference will take place on 18th April 2008 in Southsea, Hampshire.

If you would like more information about the one day conference, please contact the conference organiser Dr Lucy Akehurst email; tel. 02392 846337.

If you would like more information about the distance learning MSc course, please contact the Course Leader Dr Julie Cherryman email; tel. 02392 846328.

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