Child-friendly forensic interviews are conducted, on behalf of law enforcement and other investigative agencies, when there has been a report of child sexual abuse, serious physical abuse, or when a child has witnessed a violent crime. Investigators watch on a live feed while working together to make investigations as seamless and effective as possible. This collaborative process is based on the nationally recognized Child Advocacy Center model.
What is a Forensic Interview?
A forensic interview is a structured conversation with a child intended to elicit detailed information about events that the child may have experienced or witnessed. It takes place in a neutral, child-friendly location designed to help the child feel comfortable. A forensic interview provides the child with an opportunity to tell their story in their own words. It is not an interrogation, but rather a conversation tailored specifically to the child’s age, development level, and any special needs.
Purposes of an interview:
- To obtain information that will either corroborate or refute allegations or suspicions of abuse and neglect
- To obtain information from a child that may be useful in a legal proceeding
- To assess the safety of the child’s living arrangements
- To assess the need for medical treatment and psychological care
Our forensic interviews are conducted by masters-level, child abuse professionals who have received advanced training on the forensic interviewing of child victims/witnesses. The forensic interviewers routinely participate in peer review to continually develop their skills and attend ongoing professional training.
During the interview, investigative partners such as law enforcement and social services are able to watch a live feed of the interview in a separate observation room. This concept is a key element of the child advocacy center model of care that better ensures the child will not have to endure the trauma of multiple interviews by multiple agencies. Recordings of the interview can later be obtained to aid in court proceedings.