Taking the First Courageous Step: the Forensic Interview
Unless a child is too young to speak, the forensic interview is the initial step in the investigation of suspected child abuse. It helps our investigative team collect necessary information to assess what has occurred and what the next steps should be.
Bringing up the details of abuse throughout a forensic interview can be distressing. Because of this, we do everything we can to curb any additional stress or trauma for the child and their affected family members.
Our Interviewers are Well-Trained to Handle Delicate Circumstances
Our forensic interviewers receive specialized training on a regular basis and follow an organized peer-review process to make sure that we continue to meet the high accreditation standards of the National Children’s Alliance and, more importantly, the expectations of the children and their families.
A member of the Child Advocacy Center of Hidalgo and Starr Counties’ forensic interview team then conducts a forensic interview in a comfortable setting within our center with all the warmth and compassion that a child abuse victim needs. We are here to guide these children along the interview process to ensure that they don’t suffer while speaking about their trauma.
A Sensitive Approach: Gathering Important Information About Child Abuse
Establishing a comfortable and safe environment may be our top priority when interviewing children that were abused, but so too is ensuring that they don’t have to constantly relive what trauma they had to endure during the forensic process.
To prevent this, we conduct a forensic interview one-on-one in a safe space where our interviewer, who is wearing a concealed earpiece, embraces kindness, compassion, and empathy to ask important questions, encouraging the child to feel comfortable enough to share the facts about the trauma they experienced.
Other members of the investigative team, law enforcement, Child Protective Services, and the District Attorney’s Office all have the ability to view the interview from another room. This collaborative effort benefits the child and our team in two ways:
- It restricts the number of interviews that the child must go through, potentially forcing them to relive a very traumatic period of their lives multiple times.
- It guarantees that every member of the investigative team receives the same information for their work on the investigation.
From there, if sexual abuse is suspected in this particular case, we delicately guide the child along to the next step: the S.A.N.E. examination.