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Forensic Interviewing Protecting Children from Neglect and Abuse.

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Presentation on theme: "Forensic Interviewing Protecting Children from Neglect and Abuse."— Presentation transcript:

1 Forensic Interviewing Protecting Children from Neglect and Abuse

2 Planning the Interview Purpose –Review all available information prior to the interview –Have a clear idea of what issues are to be discussed –Assess the condition and safety of the child –Determine the possible need for immediate protective intervention

3 Planning the Interview Interviewing Separately or Together: –In cases of maltreatment: the child victim is interviewed first –Then the siblings –Then the non-offending parent –Finally, the perpetrating parent –In cases of sexual abuse: it is necessary to interview the parents separately –In cases of neglect: more advantages to interview the parents together

4 Planning the Interview Children should never be interviewed in the presence of the alleged perpetrator. Siblings should be interviewed separately. If the interview is in the client’s home, neighbors or relatives may be present. Parents should be consulted on the presence of others at the interview.

5 Planning the Interview Age of Child: –Children under the age of 3 may not have sufficient language skills. –Between the ages of 4 – 7 children can reliably recount events that they have witnessed, but the questioner must be careful not to influence the child’s answers. –The interview needs to be conducted at the child’s developmental level paying special attention to attention span and special words for body parts and sexual terms.

6 Planning the Interview Location: –The client’s home may provide a convenient and comfortable setting for the family. –Safety considerations, however, may indicate an office setting or a neutral meeting place such as a neighborhood center, for the interview. –Many initial interviews of children occur at the child’s school.

7 Planning the Interview Multidisciplinary Interview Centers: –If there are allegations of sexual abuse or severe physical abuse it is recommended that children be interviewed in multidisciplinary centers. –This procedure will eliminate the need for children to undergo multiple interviews on the painful circumstances.

8 Establishing Rapport Attempt to create an atmosphere of calmness and mutual respect as a background for the exploration of the interview topics. Respect – communicated through the using of titles such as “Mr.” and “Mrs.” and explaining clearly the reason for the interview.

9 Establishing Rapport Cultural considerations – Interviewers of the same ethnic/racial background as the person being interviewed may encounter fewer barriers to effective communication. Understanding the meaning of nonverbal communication within the context of the interviewee’s culture will reduce the likelihood of misinterpreting behavior. Non-English speakers should have an interviewer who can conduct the session in the interviewee’s own language. Using a translator is a less desirable option.

10 Establishing Rapport Handling Resistance – acknowledging the interviewee’s feelings may defuse the situation to some extent. –Angry clients: “I realize that my asking you these questions must make you angry.” –Passive clients: “I understand that it may be difficult to talk about such personal, private family matters.” –If possible give the client an opportunity to vent anger, fear, and frustration before proceeding with the investigative questions. –Ignoring hostility or fear will rarely make them disappear.

11 Establishing Rapport Handling Resistance – when interviewing the child, it is important to communicate respect for the parents, even if they harmed the child. Because of dependency and attachment to the parents, children may become resistance if the interviewer appears to be trying to recruit the child into a conspiracy against them. Children need reassurance that they are not in trouble and that the abuse is not their fault. Should they disclose, assure them that they did the right thing.

12 Types of Questions Open-ended questions are more likely than other types of questions to elicit a full response from clients. Open-ended and focused questions are preferable in forensic interviewing, because children’s answers a less likely to be influenced by the interviewer. In multiple-choice and yes/no questions, the interviewer is providing information to the child that could influence his or her answers. A child might select an answer in order to get the interview over with or for other reasons.

13 Types of Questions With younger children, interviewers use drawings, dolls, puppets, and other props as a means of communication. Anatomically correct dolls should not be used in an interview until after the child gives indication of sexual abuse and is able to verbalize some specific details of the victimization. Anatomical drawings are useful with young children.

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