The Purpose of a Forensic Interview
When child abuse is suspected, it is critical to talk to the child about their experience and gather information in an age- and developmentally-appropriate manner.
The CAC’s goal is to help every child feel as comfortable as possible as the multidisciplinary team determines what may have happened. To ensure this goal a Forensic Interviewer will speak with the child to gather information in a compassionate and non-leading fashion.
The Forensic Interview:
- Minimizes the number of times a child is interviewed and limits the number of people who must directly interview a child;
- Is conducted in the child’s primary language, whenever possible. (When unable to conduct a forensic interview in a child’s primary language, an interpreter will assist.);
- Helps coordinate services for a child and family, and;
- Allows the parent/caregiver to meet all of the professionals involved with their child and provides an opportunity to ask questions.
What is a Forensic Interview?
A forensic interview is a fact-finding conversation conducted by a specially-trained Forensic Interviewer. The interview is designed to provide the child an opportunity to talk about the reason for their visit to the CAC. The Forensic Interviewer strives to make the child feel as comfortable as possible while gathering information to determine what may have occurred. Questions are asked in a non-leading manner at pace that is comfortable for the child.
Information for Parents/Caregivers
Children and families may feel anxious before visiting the CAC for a forensic interview. Knowing what to expect can help.
Steps in the Interview Process
Before the Forensic Interview
A Team member will contact you to explain the interview process, answer any questions you may have, and set up a time for your child's interview.
Upon Arrival to the Suffolk County Children’s Advocacy Center
You will be greeted by a Team Member and oriented to our waiting room and Center.
During the Interview
You will be asked to remain in the waiting room while your child is interviewed. Your child will speak with the Forensic Interviewer in an interview room while the rest of the Team observes the interview from behind a one-way mirror. A Family Advocate will meet with you to offer support and referrals for your family.
After the Interview
The Forensic Interviewer will bring your child back to the waiting room when the interview is finished. The professionals on the Team will meet briefly to discuss the information disclosed in the interview and how they may best help you and your child. You will then be invited to meet with the Team to discuss the interview, next steps, and services you may need or want. You will have plenty of time to ask any questions you may have. A Family Advocate may check in to provide support and other referrals at the completion of your conversation with the Team.
Team members will keep you informed about the investigation and status of your child's case. Your Victim Witness Advocate is always available to talk with you regarding any concerns you may have. A Family Advocate from the CAC can speak with you regarding any feelings, concerns, worries and reactions that you, your child and your family may have after leaving our Center. Team members will assist you in obtaining services.