The Children’s Advocacy Center provides professional and comprehensive forensic interviews of child abuse allegations. The goal is to reduce the trauma to the child by minimizing the number of interviews for evidence collection. We do this through a multidisciplinary team approach including coordination with:
- Local prosecution
- Law enforcement
- Forensic medical evaluators
- Child protection
- Case management
- Mental health linkages
Child appropriate/child friendly facility
- A multidisciplinary team
- Organizational capacity
- Cultural competency and diversity
- Medical intervention
- Forensic interviews
- Therapeutic intervention
- Victim support and advocacy
- Case review, tracking and high standards of care
Professional agency representatives who deal with child abuse reports call the Center to schedule appointments for children and their families. Coordination with the other team members occurs to assure that the appropriate professional observers are on-site when the child and family arrive.
Our agency provides a comfortable, child-friendly setting for these interviews to take place. A forensic interview room with adjoining observation room provides “state of the art” video and audio recording of the child’s testimony, with minimal intrusion on the child. A child forensic interview specialist conducts the interview, with special attention paid to providing a calming, developmentally sensitive, neutral, and safe environment for the child.
Members of the team observe the interview via closed circuit television, and communicate with the interviewer before and during the interview process. In this way, all questions can be clarified by the team throughout the interview. This minimizes the number of interviews needed for evidence collection. This in turn is less traumatizing to the child.
Additionally, a higher rate of convictions of perpetrators is realized due to thorough and compelling interviews, less chance of “recantation” by the child (since the interview has been recorded), and less chance of a child having to testify in court.
Following the interview, the child is assisted by the Advocate in rejoining the parent or guardian, answering questions, providing a short “de-briefing” and providing referral information to the family for counseling and other needed services.
Team case reviews and coordination is conducted on a regular basis to assure best possible outcomes for the child and family.