A forensic interview is an unbiased, fact-finding conversation between a specially trained Forensic Interviewer and a child or youth. The forensic interview is designed to provide the child or youth with an opportunity to talk about the reason for their visit to the Children’s Legacy Center in a developmentally appropriate way. Information is gathered to determine what may have occurred, in a way that is not suggestible. The forensic interview is done at the pace of the child or youth depending on their needs.
How can I prepare a child for a forensic interview?
In general, children benefit from knowing what to expect, especially when it comes to new experiences. We recommend letting the child know they will be visiting a safe place to talk with a person whose job is to talk with children, teenagers, and young adults. You can give the child permission to talk freely without any concern they will be in trouble for anything they talk about.
Please do not ask the child any questions regarding what happened, tell them what to say, promise rewards or treats for talking to the interviewer, or ask the child why they did not tell or tell you sooner. If the child or youth does choose to talk about what happened before the interview, listen to what they say and remain neutral. You can support the child or youth by allowing them to talk in their own way and pace.
Can caregivers view or be in the interview room?
It is important for the interviewer to talk with your child alone to preserve the integrity of the information that may be provided and the investigation overall. If something has happened to the child, it may initially be difficult for them to talk about details in front of a parent or caregiver and it could be upsetting for you to hear as well. Team members are responsible for observing, assessing and investigating allegations and therefore it is vital that the child is the primary focus.
As you wait, our Family Advocate and a Victim Advocate will meet with you in our waiting area and are available to you while the interview is in progress. The Family Advocate will meet with you to provide an assessment to help determine what needs and resources would be of support to the child and family and discuss Victim’s Compensation and the legal and court processes.
How long will my visit be?
Each visit can look a bit different depending on the age and needs of the child. We recommend choosing an appointment time when your child is most alert and well fed. For younger children an interview may last around 30 minutes and for older children 1 - 1.5 hours may be necessary, however interview times vary greatly. Please allow time for intake paperwork, the forensic interview itself, and time after the interview to meet with a member of the investigative team to ask any questions and review next steps.
The Children’s Legacy Center is equipped with a family waiting room, a playroom designed for young children and a “teen room” outfitted with a television, video games and streaming services for music, shows and movies. Our highly trained and friendly staff are prepared to provide support and care during your visit, and it is our pleasure to come alongside you during your time here.
What should I expect after the forensic interview?
Once the forensic interview is complete, the Forensic Interviewer will bring the child or youth back to their caregiver. Many children or youth feel relieved upon telling their story and so they may show signs of relief or seem like their normal selves, while others may show different feelings, such as shame or sadness. It is important to acknowledge their feelings, whatever they may be, and thank them for their courage. If they would like to discuss their interview with you, certainly be a good listener. Please know that it’s not uncommon for children or youth to not want to talk about their interview. A member of the investigative team will meet with you to provide case information, discuss next steps related to the investigation, and answer any questions you may have. A member of the family advocacy team is available to provide ongoing support to you after an interview.
How might my child present following an interview?
Many children feel relieved upon telling their story and so they may show signs of relief. They may just seem like their normal selves and want to play or do an activity that is of interest to them, while others may show different feelings, such as sadness or shame. It is important to not press a child for specifics related to the interview, however general questions about their experience are perfectly acceptable. If your child wants to talk about the interview, certainly be a good listener, however be careful not to react in a way that fosters shame or guilt. Thank your child for talking and acknowledge his or her courage. Please know that it is not uncommon for a child to not want to discuss the interview.
Our Family Advocacy and Behavioral Health teams are available to provide ongoing care, support and resources to children and families following the interview process.
How does the CLC choose an interviewer for my child?
The CLC strives to ensure every child is provided with the highest level of support and care. In our efforts to serve children with expertise and in a trauma informed approach, we have the ability to select interviewers based on the child’s specific needs and preferences, as appropriate. Our Forensic Interviewing team includes highly trained individuals with training specific to child development and dynamics of child maltreatment.
Who will be viewing the interview?
All interviews are digitally recorded to preserve the integrity of the information gathered during the interview and only accessible to the investigative team. The MDT (Multi-Disciplinary Team) views the interview live and collaborates throughout the interview to prioritize the needs of the child and integrity of the investigation. Our MDT is comprised of representatives from each of the following:
o District Attorney’s Office o Children's Services o Law Enforcement o Medical partners o Family & Victim Advocacy o First Nations Representatives, as appropriate
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