A forensic interview is an interview conducted by a trained professional with a child or adolescent that has alleged abuse, sexual assault, witnessed a violent crime, or where abuse is suspected. Developmentally disabled adults or adults who have experienced extreme trauma may also receive this form of interview. The purpose of a forensic interview is to gather a child’s statement about the allegation in a neutral, non-leading, non-suggestive manner while also considering the child’s emotional needs, developmental level, and safety. A forensic interview allows for the investigative agencies (law enforcement, child protective services, District Attorney’s Office) to assess for safety issues, service needs, and possible criminal acts. All forensic interviews conducted at The Treehouse are audio and video recorded and can be used as evidence in court cases, or for medical and mental health treatment purposes.
In some cases, an expanded forensic interview may be needed. The expanded forensic interview was developed in order for a trained professional to gather further information or clarification after an initial forensic interview. Children may be referred for this type of interview by law enforcement, child protective services, or the District Attorney’s Office after an initial forensic interview has been completed. An expanded forensic interview is similar to a forensic interview, but can allow for multiple sessions. There can be many circumstances in which a child, adolescent, or developmentally disabled adult may need an expanded session. Some circumstances include, but are not limited to anxiety, fear, limited verbal or cognitive skills, or if there is an increased amount of information to discuss. All expanded forensic interviews conducted at The Treehouse are audio and video recorded.