Forensic Interviews

A forensic interview is a specialized conversation designed to gather information from a child or developmentally-delayed adult who may have witnessed or experienced a crime, typically abuse or neglect. This type of interview is conducted in a way that is sensitive to the age, development, and well-being of the child, with the aim of minimizing further trauma while also obtaining clear and accurate information that may be used in investigative proceedings.

Goals of a forensic interview include:

  • Gathering information useful for a criminal investigation.
  • Evaluating the child’s safety.
  • Confirming or dispelling concerns of abuse or neglect.
  • Determining the need for medical or psychological support.

Key Characteristics of a Forensic Interview:


Child/Victim-Centered Approach: Forensic interviews are conducted in a manner that puts the child’s comfort and safety first. The environment is usually friendly and non-threatening, helping the child feel at ease.

Structured Yet Flexible: While forensic interviews follow a structured protocol to ensure all necessary information is collected, they are also flexible enough to adapt to the individual child’s needs and responses.

Objective and Neutral: The interviewer maintains a neutral stance, avoiding leading questions that could bias the child’s responses. The goal is to obtain the child’s account of events in their own words without influence.

Use in Investigations: The information gathered during a forensic interview can play a crucial role in criminal investigations and legal proceedings related to abuse cases. It can help to establish facts, corroborate evidence, and protect the child from further harm.

Trained Professionals: The interviews are carried out by professionals who have undergone more than 40 hours of specialized training in forensic interviewing techniques with peer review and continuing education. These interviewers understand how to communicate effectively with children, taking into account their developmental level and psychological state.

Multidisciplinary Collaboration: Often, forensic interviews are part of a broader multidisciplinary approach to child abuse investigations, involving collaboration between law enforcement, child protective services, medical professionals, and legal experts to ensure the child’s welfare and justice are served.

Forensic interviews are a critical tool in the field of child and elder protection, offering a way to listen to their experiences with the utmost care and respect while also pursuing the truth necessary for legal action and safeguarding measures.

Following the interview, child protective services or law enforcement will update the parent or guardian on the investigation’s next steps. These interviews are a critical part of investigating cases of child abuse, both physical and sexual, often providing essential evidence for criminal proceedings.

When preparing your child for a forensic interview, it’s helpful to explain that they will be talking with someone about their experiences. Assure them it’s okay to speak freely and honestly. It’s important for your child to feel supported, but avoid rehearsing responses or instructing them on what to say. This approach helps ensure the interview process is as effective and comforting as possible for your child.


What is a Forensic Interview?

A forensic interview is a structured conversation with a child intended to elicit detailed information about a possible event(s) that a child may have experienced or witnessed.

What is the purpose of a Forensic Interview?

The purposes of a forensic interview are:

  1. To obtain information from a child that may be helpful in a criminal investigation;
  2. To assess the safety of the child;
  3. To obtain information for DFCS and/or Law Enforcement that will either corroborate or refute allegations or suspicions of abuse and neglect;
  4. To assess the need for medical treatment and psychological care.

Who can request a Forensic Interview?

Forensic Interviews are only conducted at the request of law enforcement, DFCS, and/or the District Attorney’s office.

Who conducts the Forensic Interview?

Forensic Interviews are conducted by trained Forensic Interviewers who have completed at least 40 hours of specialized training on how to interview children. Our trained Forensic Interviewers also participate in monthly national and state peer review meetings to continually develop their skills.

What do I tell my child?

It is important to let your child know that they are coming to Mosaic Georgia to talk to a person that talks to a lot of children about different things. Reassure them that they are not in any trouble and that you are giving them permission to speak to someone freely.

What happens after the Forensic Interview?

After an interview is conducted, DFCS and/or law enforcement will inform you of the next steps in the investigation process.

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