Forensic Interviewing

What can I expect when I’m bringing my child to the Great Basin Children’s Advocacy for an interview?
After you check in with a member of our team, you will be greeted by our forensic interviewer. The forensic interviewer will give you an option as to whether you and your child would like to the see the interview room before the interview occurs. The forensic interviewer will walk you and your child back to the interview room to ensure your child feels comfortable. The interview room is designed to make your child feel comfortable. The room is audio and video recorded for investigative and prosecution purposes. After you and your child preview the room and your child feels comfortable, the forensic interviewer will escort your child back to the interviewing room to begin the interviewing process.

What is the forensic interview?
The purpose of a CAC forensic interview is to obtain information from a child about abuse allegations. The Great Basin Children’s Advocacy Center adheres to research-based forensic interviewing guidelines which create an interview environment that enhances free recall, minimizes interview influence, and gathers information needed by all MDT members in order to avoid duplication of the interview process.

May I watch the interview?
Although some caregivers would like to be present during the interview, it is policy of the Great Basin Children’s Advocacy Center to not allow this. In order to maintain the neutrality of the investigation, only those people who are directly involved in the investigation can watch the interview.

Who will my child talk to?
Your child will talk with a trained forensic interview specialist, with special training and experience in talking to children about difficult subjects. The forensic interviewer will conduct a forensic interview in a manner that is developmentally and culturally sensitive, unbiased, fact-finding, and legally sound.

What do I tell my child before the interview?
We are going to talk to someone who needs to know what happened. This person talks to kids all the time about similar things. You need to tell the truth and tell everything that you remember. You are not in trouble. Everything will be OK.

What will happen after the interview?
You will be able to talk to a member of the team who observed the interview and ask him or her questions about what happened during the interview. At the end of the forensic interview, the members of the MDT will discuss the best options for your child’s case and your child’s healing from the abuse.

Medical Examinations

THE CARES (Child Abuse Response and Evaluation(S) examination is provided for those children who may have experienced age-inappropriate sexual and/or physical abuse. These children are at risk for trauma to their genitals, bottoms, and bodies, as well as sexually transmitted diseases. In addition, children and adolescents often express significant concerns about their body’s health and “intactness.” These are best addressed in the context of a complete medical history and head-to-toe medical examination.

All children can benefit from a comprehensive medical evaluation, even though the last suspected contact may have been years earlier.

The medical examination is reassuring to the child and parent, and is one of the first steps in the process of healing following sexual abuse. This exam is a non-painful head-to-toe exam done by a pediatrician, nurse practitioner, or trained medical provider that specializes in physically and sexually abused children. The examination is done with the aid of a camera or colposcope, which simply magnifies and lights parts of the body that are not easily seen. It never touches the child being examined.

The medical provider touches the child on the outside of his/her body, and all parts of the body are looked at closely. The exam is not painful and is not traumatic. We are always careful to clarify with caregivers that this is not like the exam adult women get yearly at their OB/GYN.

This examination reassures the child that he/she is normal and healthy. You will be contacted to establish an appointment time. When you arrive, you will need to sign some paperwork. The doctor or the nurse will speak with parents first, then the child. The examination will occur after that. After the examination, the doctor or nurse will speak with parents, relay exam findings, and discuss any concerns.

Questions are welcome and encouraged.