A forensic interview is a recorded interview designed to obtain a child’s information and statement when there are concerns of possible abuse or neglect or when a child has witnessed violence against another person. The primary objective of a forensic interview is to aid in ensuring the safety of a child, as well as other children in the home or community. Other goals are to obtain information to assist agencies involved in an investigation (such as law enforcement and child protective services,) to assess for all types of child abuse or neglect, to assess for medical or mental health needs, and to document the child’s statement for legal purposes.
The forensic interview may be completed with a child or teen (3 years to 17 years of age) and developmentally delayed adults. The interview is conducted in a child-friendly and non-leading manner by a professional forensic interviewer trained in the Child First South Carolina forensic interview model. Interviews are typically a single session; however there may be times where a follow-up interview may need to be scheduled. Interviews are remotely observed by representatives of the agencies involved in the investigation. The interviewer will meet with the child’s caregiver prior to and after the forensic interview.
It is normal for your child to feel anxious about his/her interview. A few days prior, it is suggested that caregivers explain to the child that they have an upcoming appointment at the Dorchester Children’s Advocacy Center. At this appointment they will meet with someone who, as part of their job, talks to kids and asks lots of questions about family, home, school, and safety. It is important to relay to your child the importance of truth-telling during the interview and to reassure them that it is ok with you, as their caregiver, that they meet with and talk to the interviewer.