It is extremely difficult to sort out the facts of an alleged case of child abuse. Many lack physical evidence and eyewitness testimony. Errors in these cases can either leave a child unprotected and vulnerable to further abuse or subject innocent caregivers to criminal prosecution or loss of parental rights. (Olafson & Kenniston)
A forensic interview is performed by someone who is specially trained in interviewing and the many dynamics of child abuse. Using non-leading and age-appropriate questions, a forensic interview finds out the child's reality - in their own words - about what may have happened to them.
A forensic interview is a neutral, fact-finding interaction conducted by a specially trained interviewer using a multi-disciplinary approach in response to allegations of alleged maltreatment. Children ages 2-17 come to JACY House when there has been a report that the child may have experienced some form of abuse or may have witnessed violence. The forensic interviewer allows the child to tell about the events in a one-on-one discussion with the multi-disciplinary team observing from an adjacent room. A forensic interview is not an interrogation, but a non-threatening and non-leading interview. The child is given the opportunity to describe events in his or her own words, in a manner that is age and developmentally appropriate to the child.The goal of a forensic interview is to get a statement from a child. The information that the victims/witnesses give supports accurate and fair decision-making in the criminal justice and child welfare systems.