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Child Advocacy Center Uses Actors to Train Forensic Interviewers

January 23, 2017 11:31 AM

Each year, law enforcement agencies send about 450 Minnesota children to CornerHouse to be interviewed following a traumatic situation like physical or sexual abuse.  There, some of the most difficult conversations take place.  Due to this hard and innovative work, the Minneapolis-based non-profit is breaking ground, globally, in training forensic interviewers to prepare for these tough conversations.

"My job isn't to talk to kids. My job is to listen to kids," said forensic interviewer Julie Stauffer.

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Stauffer trains new employees on how to appropriately and effectively interview children by using actors in mock scenarios that deal with child abuse.

"We're taught to not talk about it and as a result of that, people who become investigators and professionals in this might have very limited knowledge about the dynamics of abuse," said Jennifer Witt, training director for CornerHouse.

There are two cameras in each interview room to document anything and everything said in the safe space.

The training exercises help law enforcement, child protection case workers and prosecutors throughout the state uncover the truth in a developmentally sensitive way.

"I didn't have to live it. They lived it," said Stauffer, referring to the children she interviews.  "So if nothing else, I can at least hear it."

Forensic interviewers from CornerHouse have trained professionals in all 87 Minnesota counties, all 50 states and in 19 countries.

Credits

Katherine Johnson

Copyright 2017 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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