What is a Forensic Interview?
When a concern arises that a child has endured sexual abuse, a forensic interview is the best way to gather information about the allegation. A forensic interview is an objective, non-leading, legally defensible and age-appropriate, information-gathering process. Forensic interviews reduce trauma experienced by children by reducing the number of times they have to talk about what happened to them.
Unless a child is too young to talk, his or her experience at the Cece Yara Child Advocacy Centre will begin with a Forensic Interview. The interview is conducted by someone trained in latest forensic interviewing techniques, child development and linguistics, and will take place in one of our age-appropriate interview rooms. The interview will be permanently recorded and observed by law enforcement or child protective services investigators who are part of the Child Advocacy Centre multidisciplinary team. This allows investigators who are assigned to help your family, ask the forensic interviewer additional questions that can clarify information and reduce the times a child will have to be interviewed. As a result, all members of a multidisciplinary team obtain the information needed to proceed on behalf of the child.
Why does my child need a Forensic Interview?
It is quite difficult to prove the offence happened because the perpetrators often deny the abuse and most acts of sexual abuse cannot be witnessed, the child’s statement is a vital evidence in child abuse cases. Developmental issues, such as children’s varying abilities to recall events and the use of language, as well as the trauma they may have experienced, complicate efforts to obtain information about the abuse. The forensic interview is designed to overcome these obstacles and to obtain information that will either corroborate or refute allegation or suspicion of abuse and neglect. It can also be useful in assessing the medical and psychological needs of the child.
What Information do I need to tell my child about coming to the Cece Yara Child Advocacy Centre?
Children are put at ease by knowing what to expect. It is helpful to inform your child that someone wishes to talk with him or her about what was reported. It is important to reassure your child and give him or her permission to talk freely. However, it is equally important not to rehearse with your child or tell your child what to say. You may tell your child that:
“We are going to the Cece Yara Child Advocacy Center. It is a special place where children go to talk about important matter/ incident. The person you will be talking to talks to lots of children about what might have happened to them. It’s okay to tell them everything. You are not in any trouble.”
Do I have the opportunity to watch my child’s interview?
No, you can’t. Only professionals directly involved in the investigation are permitted to observe the interview sessions. This is to reduce possible stress that the can be placed on the child and to provide a neutral setting for the child and the investigation.
All forensic Interview with child are recorded to minimize the number of times your child will have to talk about the abuse.