Establishing Origin: Analysing the Questions Asked in Asylum Interviews

Tanja van Veldhuizen, Rachel Maas, Robert Horselenberg, Peter van Koppen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

In the absence of evidence, asylum seekers are interviewed to assess the credibility of their stories. Few studies have examined whether or not the questions asked in such interviews stimulate the applicant to give lengthy, detailed, and accurate answers. The style, type, and content of the questions asked in order to assess a claim about origin were analysed in 40 case files from the Dutch Immigration Service. A large proportion of the questions were closed and fact-checking questions. Less than one fifth of questions were open or cued recall questions. The results show that to assess credibility of origin, knowledge questions were posed about the immediate living environment, flight to Europe, identity documents, country of origin, and personal background of applicants. Possibilities for increasing the quantity and quality of information obtained in asylum interviews are discussed. Future research should validate the assumption that truthful claimants have substantial knowledge about their country and town of origin.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)283-302
Number of pages20
JournalThe European Journal of Psychology Applied to Legal Context
Volume25
Issue number2
Early online date24 Oct 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Keywords

  • asylum procedure
  • credibility assessment
  • investigative interviewing
  • origin claims
  • question content
  • question style
  • question type
  • AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL MEMORY
  • COGNITIVE INTERVIEW
  • POLICE INTERVIEWS
  • CHILDREN
  • INFORMATION
  • SPECIFICITY
  • COMPONENTS
  • WITNESSES
  • SUSPECTS
  • SEEKERS

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