From Julie Evans <[email protected]>
Subject The door of our house
Date April 28, 2022 4:30 PM
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Part 4: The Door For children who may have experienced abuse, when a report is made to authorities the first step in the investigation process to determine if an instance of abuse took place is a forensic interview: the door that opens to healing. Alliance For Children centers provide a “home” for these children, a place of security where they can speak openly to safe adults who are there to ensure each child’s wellbeing and safety. In this edition of The House that Trust Built, we share what a forensic interview means to a child abuse investigation and why it is an essential step for a child who may be a victim of abuse. At the core of a children’s advocacy center like Alliance For Children, the hope is to decrease the amount of trauma to possible or alleged child victims during the course of a criminal investigation. Prior to the creation of children’s advocacy centers, child victims had to repeat their allegations of abuse time after time, forcing the child to relive the trauma repeatedly. A forensic interview is a legally justifiable, objective, fact-finding, investigative interview conducted by a trained professional at the request of an investigating agency such as the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, law enforcement agencies, and occasionally the Criminal District Attorney’s Office. The Forensic Interview Team consists of specialized interviewers who are highly trained in child development, memory, suggestibility, linguistics, dynamics of abuse, and question typology. These interviews are designed to obtain investigative information from possible or alleged child abuse victims in a sensitive and non-leading manner so as to avoid re-traumatization. As each case of child abuse is different, so is each interview. There is no set timeframe or list of questions; each interview is tailored to the child and their specific experience(s). Forensic interviewers quickly build rapport with the child, helping make them feel at ease prior to diving into what they may or may not have experienced. As this subject is often hard for some children to discuss, our forensic interviewers have a number of tools to try and make the conversation more comfortable. The use of anatomical dolls and drawings, smart boards, fidgets, and even utilizing the verbiage used by the child, are just a few methods our team uses to make children feel more at ease when sharing their experiences. Interviews gather a plethora of detail, not just about the possible criminal offense, but the location(s) it might have taken place in, and other sensory details they might be able to share, which can lead to better corroboration, suspect identification, and thorough search warrants. As a children’s advocacy center, our job as the neutral party is to serve every child who needs us regardless of preferred language or any disabilities they may have. We have interviewers who are bilingual in English and Spanish and we utilize interpreters to accommodate any other language barrier, including sign language. We interview children ages 2-17 who might be victims or witnesses of abuse, and sometimes adults with cognitive or communicative delays. Forensic interviewers work to coordinate interviews with our partners and alleged victims at one of Alliance For Children’s three investigative centers, or remotely via secure virtual platforms in necessary circumstances. In a separate room, investigative partners witness the forensic interviews in real time to ensure they get information relevant to their investigation. These interviews are recorded, allowing for further review and preservation as evidence. Alliance For Children’s forensic interviewers may be called to testify in court cases as expert witnesses and neutral parties. Further, based on information obtained during their time with clients, forensic interviewers may make referrals to Alliance For Children’s Family Advocate program. Child abuse victims depend on protective and proactive adults to keep them safe from abuse. If you suspect a child in your life is being abused, we urge you to make a report to local law enforcement or by calling 1-800-252-5400. The door to safety and healing begins with the forensic interview, but that can’t happen without a report of abuse being made. You might be the opportunity for a child to be heard and step through the door to healing. To learn more about the signs and symptoms of child abuse, visit: [link removed] or consider joining one of our upcoming Stewards of Children trainings: [link removed] Sincerely, Julie Evans Chief Executive Officer Donate ‌ ‌ ‌ Alliance For Children | 3609 Marquita Dr, Fort Worth, TX 76116 Unsubscribe [email protected] Update Profile | Constant Contact Data Notice Sent by [email protected] powered by Try email marketing for free today!
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