A forensic interview is the technique for collecting information from children who are victims or witnesses to crimes. The forensic interview is an early event in a victim’s healing process as it is critical to supporting the victims’ mental processing through victim-centered care.
Prior to establishing the Advanced Forensic Interview Training (AFIT), a 40 hour training for forensic interviewers (FIs), victims were berated by investigators, often not believed and blamed, especially children, which led to internal blame, shame, and increased trauma. Using the semi-structured cognitive interview techniques taught in AFIT, forensic interviewers do not push the victim to tell their story and establish trust with the victim as to not increase their trauma. The forensic interviewer compiles fragmented memories into comprehensive data to reduce the likelihood that the victim will have to repeat their story and relive their trauma.
PCA Arizona offers a four-day experiential training for law enforcement and Department of Child Safety investigators to learn forensic interviewing and the semi-structured cognitive interview technique. A recent attendee of this training reached out to share,
“I want to thank you for the greatly beneficial training I received from you and the staff at Prevent Child Abuse Arizona. Since then, I investigated an Attempted Kidnapping case in which I used the skills I learned to interview the young victim. The information led to the arrest of 3 suspects who will no longer be attempting to kidnap anyone. I know this is the first case of many where I will be able to put your training to good use. Thank you again from myself and on behalf of all the victims you have helped by providing such excellent training!”
Advanced Forensic Interview Training is one of our tertiary prevention methods that, like this young detective said, will prevent re-occurrence of child maltreatment by ensuring thorough evidence collection and prosecution of offenders, while also beginning the healing process for the victim.