What is a Forensic Interview?

A forensic interview is a structured conversation with a child designed to elicit that child’s unique information when there are concerns of possible abuse or when the child has witnessed violence against another person. The forensic interview is designed to obtain a statement from a child in an objective manner.  Forensic interviews are recorded to preserve evidence for prosecution.

 

Who conducts a forensic interview?

The forensic interview is conducted in a safe, supportive and child friendly environment by a professional trained in forensic interviewing. Forensic interviewers are specially trained to ask child victims questions in an unbiased and non-leading manner to gain information in an age and developmentally friendly way.  Interviews are remotely observed by representatives of the agencies involved in the investigation (such as law enforcement and child protective services).

 

What is the purpose of a forensic interview?

The primary aim of forensic services is to aid in ensuring the safety of the individual child as well as other children in the community. The victim’s statement is critical evidence in child abuse cases because most perpetrators deny the abuse and most acts are not witnessed by others.

The goals of forensic interviews include:
  1. Obtaining information from a child that may be helpful in a criminal investigation;
  2. Assess the safety of the child’s living environment;
  3. Obtain information to either substantiate or disprove allegations of child abuse and neglect; and
  4. Assess the needs for medical and psychological treatment.