A forensic interview is a neutral conversation to gather details about something that a child has experienced or seen. A forensic interview can be one part of an investigation when there is a concern about a child or youth.
In Nova Scotia, forensic interviews are typically done together by a child welfare social worker and a police officer, who have special training in talking with children and youth. The interview process is designed to help children feel comfortable. The interviewers are supportive, and use questions that are age-appropriate and non-leading. Police officers usually wear regular clothes, not uniforms.
Forensic interviews are video- and audio-recorded, which can help reduce the number of times that a child has to tell their story.
When visiting SeaStar, children and youth may have a forensic interview. SeaStar’s interview room is welcoming and child-friendly, with comfortable chairs and colourful artwork.
If you have any questions about an upcoming forensic interview, you can call the child welfare social worker or police officer who gave you your appointment time.
We understand that as a caregiver, you want to be with your child for every step of their visit.
For the forensic interview, it is important that the interviewers talk with your child alone. The interview is a structured process, designed to be neutral and objective, and is a chance for interviewers to hear directly from the child in their own words.
While your child is being interviewed, you will be able to stay in another room nearby. During this time, you will have a chance to talk with a child and youth advocate if you want.
Yes. After the interview, the child welfare social worker and police officer will usually speak with the child’s or youth’s caregiver(s). They can ensure you have the information you need, and explain next steps. This also gives you a chance to ask any questions you have.
During this time, a child and youth advocate is usually able to stay with your child in SeaStar’s waiting area.
Children and youth may feel better if they have some basic information on what to expect.
If you feel it will be helpful for your child to have some information ahead of time, you can explain that your child will meet a friendly social worker and police officer whose jobs are to talk to kids. Explain that your child is not in any trouble, and it’s ok to tell the social worker and police officer everything. You can tell them that lots of kids come to SeaStar to talk about important stuff.
It is very important to not lead or suggest what your child should say in the interview. This could interfere with the quality of the investigation. This doesn’t mean that you can’t talk to your child about what may have happened. If your child brings it up on their own, listen supportively, and thank them for sharing. Be careful, however, to not press for further details or ask leading questions.