Forensic interviews at the CACSC give law enforcement and CPI the info they need to conduct thorough investigations without requiring child abuse victims to repeat (and relive) their stories throughout the investigation.
What Is A Forensic Interview?
A forensic interview is a one-on-one, fact-finding conversation with a skilled professional in a child-friendly environment that gives all involved agencies everything they need to conduct a thorough investigation.
How Do Forensic Interviews Help?
Forensic interviews minimize child trauma & empower thorough investigations.
Here’s how the interview helps:
Every day, children are victimized by abuse here in Smith County. As you can imagine, the horrors they have experienced are painful to think about, and often more painful to talk about. Forensic interviews ensure that reported victims only have to share their stories once during the investigation.
Forensic interviews give law enforcement and Child Protective Investigations (CPI) all of the information they need from the reported victim to conduct a thorough investigation.
How Do Forensic Interviews Work?
When child abuse is reported in Smith County, law enforcement or CPI schedule a forensic interview at the CACSC.
Here’s how the interview works:
The reported victim has a relaxed conversation with a trained professional who asks non-leading questions to fact-find regarding the allegations that have been made.
Law enforcement and Child Protective Investigations (CPI) record and watch the interview via closed-circuit television to gather everything they need to conduct a thorough investigation.
“I’m Miss Texas Outstanding Teen. And I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for that forensic interview.”
Frequently Asked Questions
Does your child have an upcoming forensic interview?
Here are the answers to some of our most frequently asked questions.
A forensic interview is a fact-finding conversation that seeks to gain a fair and accurate representation of what may have occurred. It’s a non-leading, developmentally appropriate way of allowing alleged victims to share their stories.
To put your child at ease, the interview is a relaxed, one-on-one conversation with a trained professional. The conversation will be recorded and watched via closed-circuit television in a different room, but only the interviewer will be in the room with your child.
Forensic interviews happen in a neutral, child-friendly room at the CACSC that’s video recorded and actively monitored by law enforcement and Child Protective Investigations via closed-circuit television.
Tell your child that he/she is going to a place that lets children talk about what has happened. Be truthful with your child about the nature of the forensic interview, but be brief. Encourage your child to be truthful and honest with the person to whom she is going to speak.
Don’t tell your child he/she is going to the Center to play or meet a special friend, don’t coach or rehearse your child ahead of time, and don’t offer bribes or rewards to your child for saying this or that.
The recording of the interview is not retained by the Children’s Advocacy Center of Smith County. Instead, it becomes the property of the Smith County District Attorney’s Office.
No. Neither parents nor caregivers are allowed in the interview or observation rooms during the interview. Following the interview, a law enforcement agency and/or Child Protective Investigations will discuss the interview with you and answer your questions.
The length of the interview depends on the child and the nature of the allegations. While they can range from 10 minutes to 2 hours, most forensic interviews take 40-60 minutes.
Giving hope to victims only happens with the help of people like you.
As a 501(c)(3) non-profit, our ability to help children victimized by abuse hinges upon the generosity of individuals, businesses, foundations, and community organizations who see the need and choose to stand in the gap.