The CAC completes forensic interviews for child victims of abuse, witnesses to violence, or criminal activity. A forensic interview is a structured conversation with a child in which he or she has the opportunity to describe an event, in his or her own words, in a safe and neutral environment, in a manner that is developmentally appropriate for the child. The goal of the interview is to collect information from the child that will either corroborate or refute abuse allegations, determine the identities and behaviors of all persons involved, and assess the safety of the child’s living arrangements. The interview will also help us to assess the physical, emotional, and psychological needs of the child in order to assure safety and well-being, make timely referrals to services, and achieve positive case outcomes.
The investigative team members (Child Protective Services, law enforcement, or a representative from the District Attorney’s office) observe the interview from another room, thus minimizing the number of times a child has to discuss the details of the allegations and the number of individuals the child needs to talk to following a disclosure of alleged abuse. The CAC records the interview and provides a DVD to each member of the investigative team.