Tell me everything that happened



In industrialized countries, close to one in five women and one in ten men are sexually abused in childhood.

Yet it is not easy to obtain reliable information from victims of sexual abuse, especially when it comes to young children, since their communication skills aren't as developed and they are more impressionable. 

The Quebec National Police Academy will be using this guide from now on to train its investigators. 

Mireille Cyr, research professor in the Department of Psychology at Université de Montréal, has translated and adapted an investigative interview protocol developed in the United States by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), for use in Quebec.

This guide is based on 30 years of research on how to best evoke memory in children. These studies show that even very young children recall certain precise details concerning the core elements of an event. The guide is designed to help the child to access his or her recall memory by using open-ended questions such as "Tell me everything that happened".

Cyr compared the results of traditional interviews with those of interviews conducted using the NICHD protocol. Alleged victims of sexual abuse between the ages of 3 and 13 were interviewed for the study.

Children of all ages communicated more details when interviewed using the NICHD method. In addition, using the NICHD interview guide permitted a 25% reduction in the number of questions, making this type of interview less onerous for the child.

The Quebec National Police Academy will be using this guide from now on to train its investigators.