Blue Sky Bridge is a non-profit child and family advocacy program that provides forensic interviews for child victims and crisis support for their non-offending family members. Our agency is independent from law enforcement and human services. However, we do work collaboratively as part of a multi-discplinary investigative team.
A Forensic Interview is a neutral interview intended to solicit accurate information based on alleged events that may have occurred, and is utilized to assess and determine the safety of a child. The interview is:
•Child-led and conducted in a way to minimize suggestibility and trauma.
•Observed live by Law Enforcement and/or a case worker from the Department of Housing and Human Services.
•Recorded and handed over as property of Law Enforcement, which can then be submitted as evidence in the investigation.
Tell your child that they will be meeting with someone who is a specialist (or you pick the word that will best relate to your child, i.e. counselor, an interviewer, a helper, a special child person, etc) in talking to children about very difficult things. Sometimes parents will designate this person as a friend of the Investigator that has opened the case (Human Services or Law Enforcement) if your child has a good connection with that investigator. Tell your child that even though they have told things to you (or someone else), it’s important that the information is given to the child protection people.
Give your child enough notice so that they don’t feel it’s a surprise, but also don’t give too long a time period to worry about what they may have to do. Usually a day or two is enough time for your child to feel comfortable with this appointment.
Tell your child that you honestly don’t know exactly what will be asked, but that you have every confidence that they will be honest and that the person will make them feel comfortable during the talk. Assure them that this person is a VERY child-friendly person whose job it is to talk to kids about difficult things. Tell your child you want them to answer all the questions the best they can and to tell the truth.
Give your child permission to talk about what they have disclosed. Be general in what you tell your child (“It’s okay to tell the interviewer what happened”). Do not repeat the details of what they have disclosed and don’t ask any more questions- please let the professionals do all the asking.
Tell your child that you might not know what questions to ask and how to ask them. Also tell them that because you love them so much, sometimes parents ask the kinds of questions that are about feelings instead of about the facts, which is why this special interviewer needs to do the asking. Assure your child that they are not in any trouble and in fact are doing what every citizen should always do- which is to tell someone when someone else has done something wrong.
Tell your child that you understand their feelings of frustration, especially since this is sometimes difficult to talk about. But also tell your child how brave they were for telling in the first place, and how proud you are of their honesty and bravery.
Parents can contribute a lot to the interview process by simply making sure that your child is getting a full-night’s sleep and waking up rested. If you know that your child naps at a certain time or needs more sleep in the morning, please make sure that this information is given prior to scheduling an interview.
Additionally, avoiding certain foods will ensure that a child’s energy level is stable enough to sustain focus during the interview. Foods to avoid are those with high sugar content (including fruit/fruit juices) and caffeinated beverages.
Certain activities can be used to help your child return to a calm state. These activities should always be done with a caregiver that is also in a calm state. The following are a list of activities that can be used to provide a calming sensation for your child: rocking, swinging, cuddling, humming, singing, drumming, playing catch- any activity that provides patterned, repetitive movements.