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Forensic Interviewing and the Child Abuse Investigation
Transcript of Forensic Interviewing and the Child Abuse Investigation
Purpose of the Forensic Interview
To obtain a statement from a child, in a developmentally and culturally sensitive, unbiased and fact-finding manner
To support accurate and fair decision making by the involved multidisciplinary team in the criminal justice and child protection systems
Forensic Interviews should be…
Coordinated to avoid duplication
Provided by someone who has initial and on-going formal forensic interviewer training
Quality Forensic Interviews
Appropriate, neutral setting
Effective communication among MDT members
Use of legally sound interviewing techniques
The selection, training and supervision of forensic interviewers
Quantity/Volume of cases
Nationally Recognized Training
National Child Advocacy Center (NCAC)
American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children (APSAC)
National Institute on Child Development
Corner House/RATAC/Finding Words
Things to Consider…
Setting for child forensic interview
Timing of the interview
Number of interviews
Children’s Advocacy Center of Lawrence County
*NCA Standards for Accreditation 2013
The Setting for Forensic Interviews
Neutral (de-emphasize authority)
Private and free from distractions
Ideally ONE person interviews the child
Timing of the Forensic Interviews
Interview Children as soon as possible (and within reason) after alleged events have occurred
Number of Interviews
Unnecessary multiple interviews should be avoided
Artificial limits (such as setting a limit of one interview) should not be imposed
Video-recording is best and most accurate way to document interviews
Child should be told that interview is being recorded
Child Abuse & Neglect 34 (2010) 318-323, “A controlled analysis of professionals” contemporaneous notes of interviews about alleged child abuse.” Rita T. Cauchi, Martine B. Powell, Carolyn H. Hughes-Scholes (Australia)
Interviewers should be supportive, warm and friendly, while maintaining objectivity; should be open-minded and unbiased, and should de-emphasize authority
Critical to “engage” the child, establish a relationship, and make him/her comfortable before exploring substantive allegations
Be Developmentally Appropriate
Make sure the child understands interviewer (and vice-versa)
Keep sentences short & simple
Frame – signal change of subject
Use appropriate language
Remember children are concrete
Pre-schoolers are the most susceptible to suggestions
Use people’s names, place names, and specific nouns to avoid confusion
Be aware of the implications of using “some” or “any”
Adapt to individual child
level of support
any physical/developmental disabilities, etc.
Use open-ended (non-suggestive) prompts that get children to provide as much information as possible.
Interview is only part of the investigation
Forensic interviews are the CORNERSTONE of the investigation but alone are not enough for a complete investigation
Forensic interview approaches should allow interviewers to modify their approach to adapt to the individual child and circumstances
Necessity of Peer Review and Ongoing Training
Consistent with the results of research
Interview training alone is insufficient to maintain & improve interviewer performance
Ongoing training to reinforce skills, along with regular support & feedback (including review of interviews with peers) are necessary
Protocol for Forensic Interviews
Protocols should address:
Pre and Post Interview information sharing
Who will be present from MDIT
Where the interviews will take place
Coordination of the Medical Evaluation
Questions for your team:
How does the forensic interview and medical evaluation get coordinated for children?
Is there ease in transition from one process to the other?
Is there duplication of interview process?
Questions and Comments
CPIP - Level 2 Training September 24, 2013