A Comparative Study of Interactive Environments for Investigative Interview of A Virtual Child Avatar

In cases of suspected child abuse, police and child protection services (CPS) personnel often conduct investigative interviews. These interviews are intended to obtain a reliable account from the child about the alleged crime so that proper legal and clinical interventions can be implemented, with the prosecution presenting the case in court. Studies show that the quality of these interviews is often poor, and interviewers’ current training programs are not that efficient. Training must be spaced and repeated over time. In this paper, we present a system that simulates the scenario of interviewing a victim of child sexual abuse in four different interactive environments. We conducted a user study in which participating experts interviewed a simulated child to determine which interactive environment would provide the highest quality of experience (QoE) and motivates experts for higher practice time with the system. The experts include CPS workers and child welfare students. This study measures each user interaction’s overall QoE, realism, responsiveness, presence, and flow as well as the learning effects, engagement in learning, and self-efficacy. The study shows that 66% of the participants would prefer to use virtual reality (VR) for interactive training over other environments. VR had the highest rate in most of the assessment metrics.