Our Forensic Interview Process
Our forensic interview process is child-friendly and tailored to each child’s developmental age and cognitive, social, and emotional abilities. The interviews are conducted with just one interviewer who has completed specialized trained to conduct interviews that are non-leading. The interviews are observed by our community partners including law enforcement and child welfare. This minimizes the number of times that children must talk about their experiences, allows them to be interviewed in a neutral setting rather than at a police station and helps them feel safe and supported.
We work hard to put kids at ease and allow them to talk about their experiences in an understanding, non-judgmental environment. We let each child know that they can stop the interview at any time. Children are never forced to talk about anything they don’t want to talk about. Children may draw while they talk and sometimes the interviewer may use anatomical drawings or writing to help them relay their experiences and to help them feel comfortable and safe.
Once an interview of a child has concluded, our community partners will meet with the parents or guardians of the child to discuss the interview as well as the next steps in the investigative process.
Will I be able to watch my child’s interview?
No. Only professionals directly involved in the investigation are allowed to observe the interview. This is done to reduce the possible stress that can be placed on a child and to provide a neutral setting for the child and the investigation.
Many of us working at the Child Advocacy Center are parents just like you. We understand how being in the same room with our child may influence what the child says or doesn’t say. If our child doesn’t answer quickly enough, we may answer for them. Whenever we have made exceptions to the rule, it just doesn’t work. It’s hard for us as moms and dads to sit quietly or not influence the interview with a concerned look or an emotional reaction.
Parents are also not allowed in the observation room during their child’s interview, only professionals are allowed in the observation room.
All of the interviews at the Child Advocacy Center are recorded to minimize the number of times your child will have to talk about what happened. The DVD recording of the interview is turned over to law enforcement and/or Child Welfare Service as part of evidence in a potential criminal case and/or Child Welfare Investigation.