Toggle Main Menu Toggle Search

Open Access padlockePrints

Empathy in the field: Towards a taxonomy of empathic communication in information gathering interviews with suspected sex offenders

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Gavin Oxburgh


Full text for this publication is not currently held within this repository. Alternative links are provided below where available.


Research suggests that those suspected of sexual offending might be more willing to reveal information about their crimes if interviewers display empathic behaviour. However, the literature concerning investigative empathy is in its infancy, and so as yet is not well understood. This study explores empathy in a sample of real-life interviews conducted by police officers in England with suspected sex offenders. Using qualitative methodology, the presence and type of empathic verbal behaviours displayed was examined. Resulting categories were quantitatively analysed to investigate their occurrence overall, and across interviewer gender. We identified four distinct types of empathy, some of which were used significantly more often than others. Female interviewers displayed more empathic behaviour per se by a considerable margin.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Dando C, Oxburgh GE

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: The European Journal of Psychology Applied to Legal Context

Year: 2016

Volume: 8

Issue: 1

Pages: 27-33

Print publication date: 01/01/2016

Online publication date: 21/11/2015

Acceptance date: 20/10/2015

ISSN (print): 1889-1861

ISSN (electronic): 1989-4007

Publisher: Elsevier


DOI: 10.1016/j.ejpal.2015.10.001


Altmetrics provided by Altmetric