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Developing evidence-based best practice for lineups involving child witnesses

   Centre for Applied Psychological Science

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  Dr N Butcher  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

We are pleased to invite UK, EU and international applications for a fully-funded PhD studentship Developing evidence-based best practice for lineups involving child witnesses from Teesside University’s Centre for Applied Psychological Science.

Project description(s)

In the UK the Code of Practice for the Identification of Persons by Police Officers code D (PACE-D, Home Office, 2017) sets out the principal methods used by police to identify people in connection with the investigation of offences, including eye-witness identification procedures. Despite evidence that child witnesses are especially vulnerable to errors when taking part in a lineup, the code of practice doesn’t specify any modifications that can be made to improve the accuracy of child witnesses. Registered intermediaries can help children give evidence by supporting them to take part in a lineup, but again no evidence-based guidance is available to facilitate intermediaries to do so. This PhD project therefore aims to develop evidence-based best practice for lineups involving child witnesses.

Best practice will be established in two areas.

  • to identify what modifications to lineup procedures intermediaries currently request when supporting a child witness to take part in a lineup. Experiments can then be conducted to assess the effectiveness of these modifications on child witness lineup accuracy. The modifications investigated in the proposed project will be subtler modifications, in line with the methods outlined in PACE-D so if found to be effective, could be relatively easily embedded in police and intermediary practice.
  • guidelines for constructing line ups often state that the police should prevent suspects with distinctive features from standing out. In the US, England and Wales police use various fair lineup techniques to do so. There is some research on the effect of these fair lineup procedures on adult accuracy demonstrating the effectiveness of fair lineup procedures when applied during identification parades involving adult witnesses. However, the effect of fair lineup facial modifications on child witnesses’ accuracy during lineups is lacking.

The supervisor is Dr Natalie Butcher from the School of Social Sciences, Humanities & Law.

Entry requirements

You should hold or expect to obtain a good honours degree (2:1 or above) in a relevant discipline. A master’s level qualification in a relevant discipline is desirable, but not essential, as well as a demonstrable understanding of the research area.

International applicants should have a standard of English at IELTS 6.5 minimum and will be subject to the standard entry criteria relating to ATAS clearance and, when relevant, UK visa requirements and procedures.

How to apply

Application is online

Key dates

  • Closing date for applications is 5.00pm, 1 February 2023.
  • Shortlisting and online interviews are expected to be held mid-March 2023.
  • Successful applicants will be expected to start May or October 2023. 

Funding Notes

The Fully Funded PhD Studentship covers tuition fees for the period of a full-time PhD Registration of up to four years and provide an annual tax-free stipend of £17,668 for three years, subject to satisfactory progress.
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