For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 1 - 23

The goal of investigatory interviews of suspected
child abuse survivors is to gather uncontaminated
data. The National Children's Alliance (NCA) requires
that interviews are conducted in a manner that is
legally sound, of a neutral fact-finding nature, and
are coordinated to avoid duplicative interviewing.14
Experts and defense attorneys reviewing these
interviews want to pay particular attention to content
and the nuance of the interactions. Is the space and
interaction developmentally appropriate? Is the
content consistent with the child's intellectual and
language capabilities? With regard to content, are the
questions open-ended rather than pointed or leading?
Is the interviewer providing differential feedback for
answers that are advantageous to the prosecution's
case? How is the child responding to the questions? Is
s/he in distress? Though I could list literally hundreds
of questions to consider here, the benefit of an expert
to assist in the process is to assess the developmental
appropriateness and non-directive nature of the
interviews.
Based on current research, interviews should
ideally be conducted only once with a highly trained
professional15 interviewer using a structured or
semi-structured format.16 The interviewer should
be part of a multidisciplinary team that coordinates
the interview. All team members should receive
information about the child's background and the
reported abuse during the meeting. The team is
comprised of a combination of professionals, which
varies by venue and availability, including, social
workers, law enforcement personnel, prosecutors,
forensic psychologists, child advocacy workers, victim

advocates and, potentially, medical staff.17
Interviews should be single events, and as complete
and compact as possible. However, more than one
interview may be required depending on the child's
age, developmental and intellectual abilities, degree
of traumatization, anxiety or fear, or if the child
becomes fatigued or becomes distracted.18 Repeated
interviews should be the exception, not the rule.19
Forensic interviews should never force a disclosure
and should be discontinued if a child becomes overly
distressed.20 Because a young child may become
fatigued or lose concentration during the interview,
breaks during the interview are preferential to
additional interviews, though at times the latter may
be necessary. Extended forensic interviews should only
be conducted in a non-duplicative manner and out
of necessity to avoid the child suffering physical and
emotional distress from repeated interviews.21
Interviews should be conducted as soon as possible
following the disclosure or report of suspected
abuse to minimize exposure to other influences or
information. This is not always possible as many
children delay disclosure. Hence, learning about the
interactions of the child prior to the official interview
is critical. The interview should be video-recorded in
order to memorialize an accurate depiction of the
interview process as well as to allow multiple people
to view the interview without subjecting the child
to unnecessary additional interviews.22 Additionally,
video-recording also provides transparency for review
by defense counsel and their experts as needed.
Ideally, interviews should be conducted by a single

Vol. 5, Issue 1 l For The Defense

23



For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 1

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 1

Contents
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 1 - 1
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 1 - 2
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 1 - Contents
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 1 - 4
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 1 - 5
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 1 - 6
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 1 - 7
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 1 - 8
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 1 - 9
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 1 - 10
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 1 - 11
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 1 - 12
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 1 - 13
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 1 - 14
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 1 - 15
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 1 - 16
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 1 - 17
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 1 - 18
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 1 - 19
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 1 - 20
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 1 - 21
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 1 - 22
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 1 - 23
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 1 - 24
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 1 - 25
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 1 - 26
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 1 - 27
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 1 - 28
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 1 - 29
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 1 - 30
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 1 - 31
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 1 - 32
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 1 - 33
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 1 - 34
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 1 - 35
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 1 - 36
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 1 - 37
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 1 - 38
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 1 - 39
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 1 - 40
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 1 - 41
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 1 - 42
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 1 - 43
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 1 - 44
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/PACDL/FORTHEDEFENSE_vol5_issue4_2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/PACDL/FORTHEDEFENSE_vol5_issue3_2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/PACDL/FORTHEDEFENSE_vol5_issue2_2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/PACDL/FORTHEDEFENSE_vol5_issue1_2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/PACDL/FORTHEDEFENSE_vol4_issue4_2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/PACDL/FORTHEDEFENSE_vol4_issue3_2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/PACDL/FORTHEDEFENSE_vol4_issue2_2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/PACDL/FORTHEDEFENSE_vol4_issue1_2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/PACDL/FORTHEDEFENSE_vol3_issue4_2018
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/PACDL/FORTHEDEFENSE_vol3_issue3_2018
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/PACDL/FORTHEDEFENSE_vol3_issue2_2018
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/PACDL/FORTHEDEFENSE_vol3_issue1_2018
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pacdl/FORTHEDEFENSE_vol2_issue4_2017
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pacdl/FORTHEDEFENSE_vol2_issue3_2017
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pacdl/FORTHEDEFENSE_vol2_issue2_2017
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pacdl/FORTHEDEFENSE_vol2_issue1_2017
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/PACDL/FORTHEDEFENSE_vol1_issue4_2016
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/PACDL/FORTHEDEFENSE_vol1_issue3_2016
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/PACDL/FORTHEDEFENSE_vol1_issue2_2016
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/PACDL/FORTHEDEFENSE_vol1_issue1_2016
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