A forensic interview is conducted at a Child Advocacy Center when there has been a report to law enforcement or the Department of Social Services that the child may have been a victim of abuse or neglect. A forensic interview is a structured, audio and video recorded, conversation with a child, intended to provide detailed information about a possible event(s) that the child may have experienced or witnessed.
A forensic interview is a neutral, fact-finding interview for the purpose of gaining information from a child in a non-leading and non-suggestive format. A forensic interview is completed when there are concerns for abuse or neglect.
Typically, these interviews are requested by investigative agencies such as law enforcement or the Department of Social Services. Because they are part of an investigation, all interviews are audio and visually recorded to reduce the number of times a child is interviewed.
Forensic Interview FAQ
The purposes of a forensic interview are:
- To obtain information from a child that may be helpful in criminal and child protection services investigations
- To assess the safety of the child’s living arrangements
- To assess the need for further medical or therapeutic services
- To limit the number of times the child is asked to disclose their abuse
Forensic interviews are provided by DCAC staff who have specialized training in conducting forensic interviews. The forensic interviewers meet the National Children’s Alliance requirements.
On average, a forensic interview takes approximately one hour to complete, however, these times can vary based on the needs of the child.
Forensic interviews are provided at no cost to the clients we serve. DCAC believes that finances should not determine whether or not a victim of child abuse receives quality, evidence-based treatment, or services.
Forensic interviews are typically conducted with children ages 3-17 years old. Occasionally, DCAC may interview developmentally delayed adults when requested by an investigative agency.