When law enforcement has to conduct a criminal investigation, children are often caught up in the mess. There's a lot going on to get to the truth, and it's important work. However, it can be a traumatic experience for the child if the situation is handled incorrectly. That's why Gingerbread House Children's Advocacy Center partners with local law enforcement in Shreveport, LA to conduct forensic interviews with any involved children.
A child abuse forensic interview needs to be done cautiously. Partner with us today to further your investigation the right way.
It's our job to protect children during legal investigations. When law enforcement calls on us for help, we will...
Who will my child talk to?
Your child will talk to a Forensic Interviewer. The Interviewer has special training and experience in talking with children about difficult subjects in an age-appropriate manner. The Interviewer's goal is to make your child as comfortable as possible while gathering the necessary information for the investigation. Questions are asked in a non-threatening and non-leading manner. The Interviewer moves at a pace that is comfortable for your child and does not force your child to talk to them. A DVD recording is made of the interview that is released to law enforcement for further investigation.
What do I tell my child about the interview?
You might tell your child, "We are going to go to the Gingerbread House. It is a special place where kids go to talk. The person you will be talking to talks to lots of kids about what happens to them. They need to know everything that you remember so that we can make sure you are safe and okay. It is important that you tell the truth and only talk about what really happened. It is okay for you to talk to them. YOU ARE NOT IN ANY TROUBLE."
Can I watch my child’s interview?
No, according to the Louisiana Children’s Code, only those people who are directly involved in the investigation are allowed to observe the interview, such as law enforcement and child protection investigators.
Should I talk to my child about the abuse before the interview?
No, not unless your child brings up the subject and wants to talk about it. In that case, listen to your child without commenting or questioning. Be sure to tell your child that he/she will be okay. While you want to be open and available to your child if they need to talk, you should not question your child about it, or suggest things to your child concerning the interview. The goal of a forensic interview is to make sure your child does not have to repeatedly discuss a traumatic experience, and that your child's disclosure is as complete, accurate and free of outside influences as possible.
What will happen when we get to the Gingerbread House?
When you first arrive at the Gingerbread House, the Forensic Interviewer will speak to you and gather basic information about your child. The Interviewer will explain the interview process, the other services that GBH offers, and will answer any questions that you have. While you meet with the Interviewer, your child will meet with our Child Life Specialist. The Child Life Specialist will show your child pictures of the interview room and explain the interview process in a child friendly and developmentally appropriate way. The Child Life Specialist can answer any concerns your child may have prior to their interview. The Interviewer will then conduct the interview with your child in one of our interview rooms that have been specially designed to make children feel comfortable. Your child’s investigative team will be observing the interview on a television screen in our observation room. The team can communicate with the Interviewer using earpieces if they have specific questions they need to ask. Once the interview is complete, the Interviewer will speak with you again, and answer any questions.