A forensic interview is simply a conversation between the child and a specially-trained forensic interviewer in a child-friendly setting. Our forensic interviewers are professionals who have been trained to talk to children of all ages in a developmentally sensitive, non-confrontational way that is legally defensible in a court of law.
The primary goal of the forensic interview is to maximize the amount of information a child can provide about the experience in his or her own words. A secondary goal of the forensic interview is to limit the number of times a child will have to talk to someone about the experience during an investigation.
How It Works
Forensic interviews are done at the request of a Multi-Disciplinary Team (MDT) as part of an open investigation. Our team consists of:
- Representatives of the District Attorney General’s Office of the 5th Judicial District
- Blount County Department of Children’s Services
- Blount County Juvenile Court
- Law enforcement from Alcoa Police Department, Blount County Sheriff’s Office, Maryville Police Department
- Representative from New Hope Children’s Advocacy Center
As soon as I came to New Hope, there was a sense of comfort. There’s such an ease to know that you can come somewhere and share your story and to know that you’re safe and comfortable, and you can trust the people you’re telling your story to.-Former New Hope Client
When children come to New Hope for a forensic interview, they are able to be themselves in our child-friendly environment, and our Child & Family Advocates are onsite to support the child and non-offending caregivers during this process.
Members from the Multi-Disciplinary Team can watch the interview live from a private screening room. The interview is recorded to document what the child says verbatim and to be available to investigators when needed. This process serves to limit the need to ask the child to come back for more interviews, which can be re-traumatizing.