A ‘Safe Talk’ or forensic interview is a non-leading, non-suggestive fact-finding interview that provides child victims the opportunity to disclose in a safe, neutral environment. Forensic interviews are always evolving to be best practice and trauma informed.
LifeHouse Child Advocacy Center coordinates with the MDT to schedule Safe Talks of children alleging sexual abuse or severe physical abuse in and around Shawnee County only after a report of abuse is made to child protective services (DCF) or law enforcement.
Our specially trained forensic interviewers conduct the interviews using the ChildFirst protocol. Throughout the Safe Talk interviewers assess the child’s cognitive skills, language development, and suggestibility while simultaneously obtaining details of the alleged abuse.
Law enforcement and/or DCF investigators observe the interview by closed-circuit television while the child’s statement is digitally recorded. Safe Talks are recorded for the benefit of the child, the investigation, and the prosecution of child abuse cases. The recordings eliminate the need for multiple interviews and provide an accurate account of the child’s disclosure. These practices ensure comprehensive and quality interviews, thus greatly reducing the child’s trauma. These practices also create a more collaborative approach between MDT members.
Law enforcement agencies from surrounding counties without a Child Advocacy Center are encouraged to utilize LifeHouse.