APSAC’s 2023 Practice Guidelines on Forensic Interviewing of Children

Training Overview

The forensic interview is a critical tool for gathering information in child maltreatment cases.  This specialized and evolving skill requires on-going training and peer review. Child forensic interviews can be used in cases where a child may have been abused, exploited, neglected, psychologically maltreated, or witnessed a crime. It is investigative in nature and used to gather potential evidence about what a child may have experienced or witnessed as part of a larger investigation. The workshop will review what’s new and different in the 2023 APSAC Practice Guidelines on Forensic Interviewing of Children. While many forensic interviews involve children who have previously disclosed, the recommendations contained in this workshop can be utilized in exploratory (e.g. at-risk, precautionary, screening) situations where there has not been previous disclosure. The guidelines presented are transferable in other contexts such as interviewing vulnerable adults. These interviews are evidence, and as such, the interview can be utilized in criminal child abuse proceedings, civil child protection proceedings, domestic proceedings, and criminal activity witnessed by children. Information from the interviews may help identify other victims, assist professionals responsible for assessing risk and safety needs of children and families, and facilitate case management decisions.

The recently updated 2012 APSAC Practice Guidelines on Forensic Interviewing (2023) will be discussed to help participants to differentiate between current evidenced-based interview components and past practices. Updates and changes in practice will be highlighted and explained. The APSAC guidelines are aspirational and intended to encourage the highest level of interview proficiency and to offer direction for training child forensic interviewers. Participants will be able to recognize the necessary attributes of an interviewer, interview training, context and components of a trauma-informed child forensic interview. The purpose of a forensic interview is to elicit as much reliable information as possible from the child to inform the investigation and case planning. This workshop will guide Interviewers in the attempt to collect facts in a neutral, supportive, and objective manner consistent with the best interests of the child.

The goal is to provide a trauma-informed opportunity for a child to talk about their experiences while minimizing negative impact. At the core, forensic interviews are non-leading, non-suggestive, non-blaming and non-shaming. Beyond understanding the importance of conducting developmentally, culturally sensitive interviews, establishing rapport, and learning idiosyncratic differences in children’s use of language, participants will gain an understanding of the evolution of forensic interview practice. Participants will also learn how barriers created by cultural differences can interfere with the ability to gain important information and often lead to misunderstandings and misinformed decision-making.  This workshop is only a brief overview to the updated 2023 APSAC Practice Guidelines on Forensic Interviewing of Children. Those wanting more detailed training are encouraged to apply to the APSAC Forensic Interviewing Clinic.

The new guidelines can be viewed here

Register through APSAC


October 23, 2023
12:00 pm - 2:00 pm
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