When a Child Comes to
Children’s Safe Harbor
Children’s Safe Harbor conducts forensic interviews of children ages 2 to 17, as well as adults with intellectual disabilities. Forensic interview staff assist partner agencies by conducting specialized interviews of children who are involved in an investigation. A forensic interview is a developmentally-sensitive and legally sound method of gathering factual information regarding allegations of abuse and/or exposure to violence. The interview is conducted by a competently-trained, neutral professional utilizing research and practice informed techniques as part of the larger investigative process.
Partner agencies observe the forensic interview in a separate room as the interview is being conducted. This allows for a collaborative team approach, therefore protecting the integrity of the information gathered. A forensic interview enables children to make their disclosures on a video recording, allowing all partner professionals involved in the case to view the taped statements, rather than submitting the child to repeated interviews. The video recording is the property of the investigating agency. Children’s Safe Harbor does not maintain copies of the forensic interview.
CSH forensic interviewers receive training on presenting evidence during a forensic interview. MDT partners are notified of this option when scheduling, and further discussion will occur during the pre-staffing. Evidence used during the forensic interview will be the property of the referring investigative agency. CSH will not retain copies of this information following the interview.
Digitally recorded interviews of child victim ages 2 through 17 and adults with intellectual disabilities are the preferred medium. CSH will interview 18-year-old child victim who may still be in high school at the request of a MDT member.
Criteria for these cases include, but are not limited to, allegations of sexual abuse meeting the following statutory definition,
The Texas Family Code, Section 261.001 and 264.4061.