At the Philadelphia Children’s Alliance, we have a team of expert forensic interviewers who are specially trained to talk with children. Victim of child sexual abuse receive a forensic interview with a member of our team. Forensic interviews are typically the cornerstone of a child abuse investigation, effective child protection, subsequent prosecution, and are the beginning of the healing process for many children.
The purpose of the forensic interview is to obtain a statement from the child, in a developmentally and culturally sensitive, unbiased and fact-finding manner that will support accurate and fair decision making by the various members of the multi-disciplinary team.
During these interviews, which generally last from 30 to 60 minutes, the child and interviewer talk in a child-friendly interview room, surrounded by colorfully painted walls, comfortable child-sized tables and chairs, crayons, and markers. Children are asked a series of non-leading, age appropriate questions that are designed to allow them to talk about what happened.
The entire interview is watched through closed circuit television by a police officer from the Special Victims Unit and/or a caseworker from the Department of Human Services. The interview is also taped for later viewing by a prosecutor from the District Attorney’s Office and may later be used in court.
Our forensic interviewers have advanced degrees in Social Work or a related field, and they also go through a rigorous and nationally recognized comprehensive training program, including ongoing supervision and peer reviews.