The Children’s Advocacy Center of Hampshire County’s Forensic Interviews provide children with a safe place to tell their story to experts who will listen to them, protect them, and help them heal. This interview typically involves a child speaking with a Forensic Interviewer while Team members observe the interview through a small, unobtrusive, closed-circuit camera feed.
The Purpose of a Forensic Interview
When child abuse is suspected, it is critical to talk to the child about their experience and gather information in an age and developmentally-appropriate manner.
The CAC’s goal is to help every child feel as comfortable as possible as the multidisciplinary team determines what may have happened. To ensure this goal, a Forensic Interviewer will speak with the child to gather information in a compassionate and non-leading fashion.
The Forensic Interview:
- Minimizes the number of times a child is interviewed and limits the number of people who must directly interview a child;
- Is conducted in the child’s primary language, whenever possible. (When unable to conduct a forensic interview in a child’s primary language, an interpreter will assist.);
- Helps coordinate services for a child and family;
- Allows the parent/caregiver to meet all of the professionals involved with their child and provides an opportunity to ask questions.
What is a Forensic Interview?
A forensic interview is a fact-finding conversation conducted by a specially-trained Forensic Interviewer. The interview is designed to provide the child an opportunity to talk about the reason for their visit to the CAC. The Forensic Interviewer strives to make the child feel as comfortable as possible while gathering information to determine what may have occurred. Questions are asked in a non-leading manner at pace that is comfortable for the child.
Information for Parents/Caregivers
Children and families may feel anxious before visiting the CAC for a forensic interview. Knowing what to expect can help.