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Forensic Interviewing and the Child Abuse Investigation

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Kelly Crawley

on 25 March 2015

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Transcript of Forensic Interviewing and the Child Abuse Investigation

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)
Huntsville, Alabama

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
The Team
Number of interviews
The Protocol
The Interviewer

Jan Wilson
Forensic Interviewer
Children’s Advocacy Center of Lawrence County

Best Practice
*NCA Standards for Accreditation 2013
The Setting for Forensic Interviews
Child friendly
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)

Interviewer Demeanor
Interviewers should be supportive, warm and friendly, while maintaining objectivity; should be open-minded and unbiased, and should de-emphasize authority

Build Rapport
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
Avoid negatives
Be aware of the implications of using “some” or “any”

Adapt to individual child
child’s age
developmental level
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
Decision making
Interview procedures
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
Full transcript