The Truth About Interviewing Victims of Child Abuse (Part 5)

view of a work table with a man sitting at it

The prosecutor has only one agenda – to prosecute the accused.


The prosecution has one job – to prosecute the alleged offender. This is how the law was set up. It’s ultimately the best system available to us at this time, although we can probably all agree that it isn’t without flaws. The problems start when the forensic interview is conducted with the intention of helping the prosecution, instead of finding out the truth.


One is focused on figuring out what really happened and who might ultimately be responsible, while the other is focused on achieving the goals of the prosecution and expediting the prosecutorial process. Put plainly, many agencies believe that it’s not their job to do the work of the defense.


The problem here is that if any evidence is revealed during the interview that does not support the current theory held by the police, or the beliefs of the CPS worker handling the case, it’s likely to be ignored or overlooked. Once again, this undermines the purpose of the forensic interview.


Not seeking the truth in every interview serves to support confirmatory bias.


Unfortunately, this has enormous impact on the outcome of the case. It can even hinder the ability of the defense to construct a solid argument. During the interview process, a child may begin to explain an event and point the finger of blame away from the current suspect in custody or from the subject of the investigation. However, the interviewer who is hoping to collect specific information that supports their presuppositions will redirect the child back to information that is “helpful” to the case.


This hampers the defense because there is a very clear limit to how many interviews a potentially traumatized child should be involved in. It’s also an issue because the child in question, who is likely to want to please, may be made aware of the “helpful” nature of some of their answers and the “unhelpful” nature of others, and then adjust the story accordingly.


Interviewing children is a science, but most forensic interviewers will tell you that it’s also an art form that requires a great deal of finesse, intuition, and caution. Children are easily influenced, easily swayed, and easily frightened. For this reason, they need to be treated with the utmost caution and care if the forensic interview process is to be successful.


If you or a loved one have been accused of abusing or neglecting a child, you are going to need expert help. So call The Kronzek Firm immediately at 866 766 5245. Our highly skilled CPS defense attorneys have decades of experience helping parents in Michigan fight to keep their families together. We can help you too! But don’t wait – this must be handled quickly! The longer you wait, the harder it is to construct a strong defense and protect your parenting rights!.

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