Forensic Services

What is a Forensic Interview?

A forensic interview is a developmentally sensitive, non-leading method of gathering factual information from children and teens that are potential victims or witnesses to abuse or violent crime. The interviews are recorded and conducted by unbiased, trained professionals to reduce the number of times a child or teen will have to be interviewed.

The interviews are conducted in a child/teen-friendly environment. During the interview, part of the HCCAC multidisciplinary team, law enforcement, and/or child protective services investigators, will observe the interview from a separate room. This allows investigators and interviewers an opportunity to collaborate during the interview in order to obtain all necessary information at once. As a result, all members of the multidisciplinary team obtain the information needed to proceed collaboratively on behalf of the child.

What happens after the interview?

At the end of the interview, the CPS investigator and/or law enforcement investigator will inform you about what to expect during the next stage of the investigative process. Additionally, A Family Advocate assigned to your case will contact you at a later date to follow-up with you, answering any outstanding questions you may have, and work with you to ensure that you and your child remain supported throughout the entire investigative process.

What is a Forensic Medical Exam?

A forensic medical examination is performed by specially trained Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANEs) for the purpose of evaluation and treatment of trauma, treatment of possible exposure to infection, referral to counseling and follow-up medical care, and for the collection of evidence following a report of sexual assault by a victim. The medical well-being of the patient is the primary objective of the SANE during the examination.

Who performs the exam?

  • Forensic medical exams are performed by nurses who are specifically trained to:
  • Provide comprehensive care to patients who are victims of sexual assault, physical abuse or neglect
  • Demonstrate competency in conducting a medical forensic exam to include evaluation for evidence collection
  • Have the expertise to provide effective courtroom testimony
  • Show compassion and sensitivity to children victimized by abuse or neglect.

What to expect:

The medical exam will take place at HCCAC in a child-friendly medical exam room. The exam will include a medical history from the caregiver as well as from the child. The child will receive a thorough head to toe exam similar to a normal check-up at a pediatrician’s office. This exam will also include an external inspection of the genitalia and anal area to assess for trauma.

If your child receives a medical examination, explain that this is to make sure that his or her body is okay and healthy. Assure your child that this exam will not hurt, and that the medical examiner will tell your child everything that she will be doing prior to the exam. Nevertheless, despite your reassurance’s children may feel worried, embarrassed or uncomfortable about their exam. It is normal for children to feel anxious about their examination. The nurse will take as much time as necessary to help children throughout the medical evaluation by explaining each step of the check-up and finding ways to put the child at ease.

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