Dr Sonja Brubacher



Clinical Lecturer


Faculty of Health


School of Psychology


Off-Campus (Home)


Dr. Sonja P. Brubacher is a researcher and lecturer in psychology at Deakin University, and a member of the Centre for Investigative Interviewing.
Click here to find out more about the Centre for Investigative Interviewing http://investigativecentre.org

She received her PhD from Wilfrid Laurier University, Canada, (2011) and in 2012 was awarded a Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship; Canada’s most prestigious award for postdoctoral fellows.  She became a member of the school of psychology at Deakin in October 2014. 

Her research focuses on understanding children’s cognitive development; including both their limitations and capacities, and using this knowledge to inform research concerned with uncovering the best methods for interviewing children about their experiences. Her work has previously been funded by two of the primary granting councils in Canada, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), and focused on developing and modifying techniques for interviewing children about events they had experienced repeatedly, and helping them to accurately describe specific occurrences of these events, in spite of competing generic information about what “usually happens.”

Sonja continues to live, and work with industry partners, in North America; developing, refining, and modifying e-learning exercises for training front-line interviewers of children.

Read more on Sonja's profile

Research interests

Sonja’s overarching research interests focus on understanding the cognitive foundations underlying children’s memory development, and the socio-motivational factors that influence whether and how memories are reported. Specific foci include:

• The ways in which children characterize, organize in memory, and differentiate memories for “repeated” events
• Developing/testing theoretically-based interview practices aimed at helping children to report their experiences while preserving accuracy
• Evaluation of those interviewing practices in the field
• Developing training around the needs of child professionals/mandated reporters (e.g., teachers, daycare workers)    
• Improving the quality of e-learning as a platform to deliver training


Canadian Child Abuse Association: http://www.csicainfo.com/home/

Centre for Investigative Interviewing: http://investigativecentre.org

Knowledge areas

child development; forensic interview protocols; memory; cognitive development; repeated events; repeated interviews; interview preparatory phases


Filter by


Prosecutors' perceptions on questioning children about repeated abuse

Prof Martine Powell, Dr Kimberlee Burrows, Dr Sonja Brubacher

(2017), Vol. 24, pp. 74-89, Psychiatry, psychology and law, Abingdon, Eng., C1


Expressions of shame in investigative interviews with Australian Aboriginal children

Ms Gemma Caddy Christie Hamilton, Dr Sonja Brubacher, Prof Martine Powell

(2016), Vol. 51, pp. 64-71, Child abuse and neglect, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, C1


Guidelines for teachers to elicit detailed and accurate narrative accounts from children

Dr Sonja Brubacher, Prof Martine Powell, A/Prof Pamela Snow, Prof Helen Skouteris, Miss Bronwen Manger

(2016), Vol. 63, pp. 83-92, Children and youth services review, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, C1


Investigative Interviewing of Aboriginal children in cases of suspected sexual abuse

Ms Gemma Caddy Christie Hamilton, Dr Sonja Brubacher, Prof Martine Powell

(2016), Vol. 25, pp. 363-381, Journal of child sexual abuse, Abingdon, Eng., C1


The effects of practice on children's ability to apply ground rules in a narrative interview

Miss Meaghan Danby, Dr Sonja Brubacher, Dr Stefanie Sharman, Prof Martine Powell

(2015), Vol. 33, pp. 446-458, Behavioral sciences and the law, Chichester, Eng., C1


The NICHD protocol: a review of an internationally-used evidence-based tool for training child forensic interviewers

David La Rooy, Dr Sonja Brubacher, Anu Aromaki-Stratos, Mireille Cyr, Irit Hershkowitz, Julia Korkman, Trond Myklebust, Prof Makiko Naka, Mr Carlos Peixoto, A/Prof Kim Roberts, Heather Stewart, Michael I. Lambert

(2015), Vol. 1, pp. 76-89, Journal of criminological research, policy and practice, Bingley, Eng., C1


Developmental differences in the ability to provide temporal information about repeated events

A/Prof Kim Roberts, Dr Sonja Brubacher, Donna M. Drohan-Jennings, Una Glisic, Prof Martine Powell

(2015), Vol. 29, pp. 407-417, Applied cognitive psychology, Chichester, Eng., C1-1


"Because she's one who listens": children discuss disclosure recipients in forensic interviews

Lindsay C. Malloy, Dr Sonja Brubacher, Michael E. Lamb

(2013), Vol. 18, pp. 245-251, Child maltreatment, London, Eng., C1-1


Gaze, goals and growing up: effects on imitative grasping

Dr Sonja Brubacher

(2013), Vol. 31, pp. 318-333, British journal of developmental psychology, London, Eng., C1-1


How do interviewers and children discuss individual occurrences of alleged repeated abuse in forensic interviews?

Dr Sonja Brubacher

(2013), Vol. 27, pp. 443-450, Applied cognitive psychology, London, Eng., C1-1


Induced power changes the sense of agency

Dr Sonja Brubacher

(2012), Vol. 21, pp. 1547-1550, Consciousness and cognition, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, C1-1


Expected consequences of disclosure revealed in investigative interviews with suspected victims of child sexual abuse

Dr Sonja Brubacher

(2011), Vol. 15, pp. 8-19, Applied developmental science, Abingdon, Eng., C1-1



Industry and Other Funding

Supportiveness versus Familiarity effects on Children's Recall across Repeated Interviews

Dr Sonja Brubacher, Prof Martine Powell

  • 2016: $6,241


Associate Supervisor

Catherine Bailey

Thesis entitled: Access to justice: Reporting child sexual abuse in Australian Indigenous communities

Doctor of Philosophy (Psychology), School of Psychology