Police officers, child advocates, and therapists recently completed a week-long course in child forensic interviewing provided by the National Children’s Advocacy Center (NCAC).
The training teaches participants how to gather the greatest amount of reliable information in a child-sensitive, trauma-informed, developmentally appropriate and legally defensible manner. Conducted properly, forensic interviews are legally sound in part because they employ non-leading techniques, ensure the interviewer’s objectivity, and require careful documentation of the interview.
“This is incredibly powerful training,” said Greensboro Det. C.E. Williams. “By learning these protocols, we can protect innocent individuals and aid in the conviction of perpetrators.”
Participating in the training were seven officers from the Greensboro Police Department’s Family Victims Unit and eight partners with the NC A&T State University's Center for Behavioral Health and Wellness and the Child Response Initiative.
Training was provided by NCAC faculty, national experts who are also practicing forensic interviewers and senior attorneys from the National District Attorneys Association. The course involved lecture and audience discussion, child interview practicum, review of recorded forensic interviews, and experiential skill-building exercises.
“Traditionally, these interviews have been used primarily when children are victims of alleged sexual offenses. However the techniques can be used with any offense,” said Williams. “The methods can be used to interview young victims of any offense, as well as witnesses to crimes.”
“Interviewing children is both an art and a science,” said CRI advocate Lisa Taylor. “Our CRI partners have always had the ability to establish rapport with our children, that’s the art. Now we have the science, the protocols and techniques to protect our children and hold offenders accountable.”
Created in 1985, the NCAC is a nonprofit organization that has become internationally recognized as a model for child abuse response and prevention.
The City works with the community to improve the quality of life for residents through inclusion, diversity, and trust. As the seventh largest employer in Greensboro, the City has a professional staff of about 3,000 employees who maintain the values of honesty, integrity, stewardship, and respect. The City is governed by a council-manager form of government with a mayor and eight council members. For more information on the City, visit www.greensboro-nc.gov or call 373-CITY (2489).