A specially-trained Forensic Interviewer (FI) will consult with the multidisciplinary team (MDT) and determine if and when a forensic interview is appropriate for your child. Factors that are considered include whether your child has made a disclosure of abuse, current stressors in your child's life, cross-cultural and linguistic issues, mental health issues, the need for medical attention, as well as your child's age, developmental level, and special needs. No one factor is determinative.
The interview is conducted in a developmentally appropriate, legally sound manner that gathers information in a neutral, fact-finding manner. Generally, a single interview approach is used. An extended forensic interview (EFI) approach may be used in some situations, such as for young children or children with developmental delays. EFIs are multi-session interviews.
The Middlesex CAC has 3 interviewing locations located in Framingham, Lowell, and Woburn.
Learn more about what to expect before, during, and after the interview.
Children can be put at ease by knowing what to expect. Before the interview, it is helpful to tell your child that someone wishes to talk to them about what happened. Encourage your child to speak freely. It is important to let your child know they are not in trouble. It also is important to let your child know they need to tell the truth.
Do not question your child or tell them what to say. If they want to talk to you about what happened, it is okay to listen. Let your child tell you their story in their own way. Remember to stay calm and just listen.
The interview is conducted by a FI in a private, age-appropriate room at the Middlesex CAC. The only people in the interview room are your child, the FI, and, if appropriate, a court-certified interpreter. The rest of the MDT observes and records the interview from an adjoining observation room through a one-way mirror. This allows the MDT to watch and hear your child's disclosure and address each of their investigative and protective concerns at the same time. The number of times a child is interviewed and the number of people who must directly interview them is minimized by this format.
You will not be allowed to be with your child or the team during the forensic interview because your presence may be a distraction, may inhibit your child from disclosing, and you may be called as a witness if there is a prosecution. We encourage you to bring a family member or friend to wait with you in our family waiting room while your child is interviewed (and to sit with your child while you are meeting with the team after the interview).
Your child will be brought back to the family waiting room when the interview is over. After you spend some time with your child, you will have an opportunity to meet with the team and hear feedback about the interview. You will not be told the details of your child's disclosure if you are a potential witness.
During this meeting, you will learn more about what to expect next. The Victim Witness Advocate will provide you with referrals for supports and services for your child and family. The Pediatric SANE will talk to you about a medical evaluation for your child (you will be provided her contact information and information about the Pediatric SANE Program if she is not present). Before you leave, you will have the opportunity to ask team members any questions you have for them.