Forensic Interviews are provided to children, teenagers and vulnerable adults who may have been victims of sexual abuse, severe physical abuse, or who may have been witness to a violent crime. These interviews are designed to gather the facts from a child in a manner that is developmentally appropriate, safe, and comfortable for the child and family.
WHAT TO EXPECT
At the Children’s Advocacy Center we approach allegations involving child victims through the lens of a Multidisciplinary Team (MDT) that consists of community disciplines and agencies who may have a role or take part in the case involving your child. You will have an opportunity to meet some of the MDT Members on the day of your child’s Forensic Interview. All of these professionals are assigned to specially work these cases and are sensitive to the potentially difficult and confusing time your family might be experiencing. The MDT’s overall goal is to complete a thorough investigation while keeping the needs of your child a priority.
On the day of the interview, you (the nonoffending caregiver) will have an opportunity to meet the MDT Members assigned to your child’s case. They will talk with you prior to the Forensic Interview in order to gather information about your family, your child, and the concerns. The Interviewer will give you more information on the interview date and answer any of your questions. Next, your child will receive a Forensic Interview in a child or teenage friendly room. Your child will meet one on one with an Interviewer trained in the State of Michigan’s Forensic Interview Protocol. Some Multidisciplinary Team members assigned to the case will observe the Forensic Interview remotely from an observation room. In order to maintain best practice and credibility, all Forensic Interviews are videotaped and the DVD’s are immediately turned over to the corresponding Law Enforcement agency. Finally, the MDT will meet with you (the nonoffending caregiver) again to discuss the Forensic Interview and the MDT will have an opportunity to review next steps with you as well.
What Should my Child Know about the Interview
It is helpful for children to have an idea of what to expect on the day of the Interview. It is appropriate to briefly inform your child they will be meeting with someone to talk more about whatever has been reported and that it is okay to tell the truth. Keeping it simple is key. It is important to reassure your child to speak freely, but it is also important not to rehearse with your child, tell them what to say, or frequently ask them questions about what was reported.