FBI Child Forensic Interview Training
FBI child forensic interviewers, part of the Office for Victim Assistance, recently provided training for law enforcement officers from four Central American countries on how to interview children and adolescents. The forensic interviewer’s primary role is to collect information that can be used in court.
The forensic interviewing program is a part of the Office for Victim Assistance. And there are four forensic interviewers at the FBI. And we interview kids and adolescents and young adults who are victims and/or witnesses of crime.
The investigative interview, the forensic interview, is to gather statements that can be used in court.
We actually have a protocol that we follow that consists of multiple stages. And we follow that protocol as we interview the child and/or adolescent. And we go thru each stage of the protocol while we conduct our interview. And following the protocol makes the interview legally defensible in a court of law.
This week we’re doing a training for law enforcement from some of the Central and South American countries. Part of their training is they’re learning about forensic interviewing of child and adolescent victims of trafficking.
The attendees have had a lot of questions about the interviewing process and they have been learning a lot. And we have been learning a lot from them about how cases work in their countries and how the interviewing process works in their country with children and adolescents.
Yesterday there were two lectures. There was a lecture on the interview process and the interview guidelines. Also yesterday we talked about child development of younger kids. And today we talked about adolescents and adolescent development.
The next piece(s) of the program are the practice interviews. We have actors that are highly trained. They’re trained in child development and in the child abuse and exploitation dynamics. And they are given scenarios and they have different characters they portray.
The students will be read the scenario and they will go in and do a practice interview with the actor and we will give them a critique on their interview.
We give them a chance to do two interviews because we find that oftentimes they’re able to incorporate the feedback we gave them from the first interview into a second interview.
We’re hoping that they’re able to take some parts, perhaps, of our protocol and some understanding about the dynamics of exploitation away from this training. And if they already have been conducting interviews a certain way, even if they don’t change it completely, maybe they’ll incorporate some of the things they learned from these few days into the interviews they conduct now.