The All Faiths Children’s Advocacy Center Forensic Interview Team partners with law enforcement agencies, the District Attorney’s Office, and New Mexico Children Youth & Families to conduct forensic interviews of children who have witnessed a violent crime or when allegations of abuse have been made. We also conduct forensic interviews with adults who have a developmental disability and disclose physical or sexual abuse. The goal of the forensic interview is to gather pertinent information in a neutral, developmentally appropriate, and legally defensible manner.
Our professionally trained forensic interviewers ensure the safety of children, youth, and developmentally disabled adults during the interview process. The process allows our partners to observe the interview as it is being conducted and provides a team approach to recording the child’s statement. The purpose is to collect information that will either support or refute allegations of abuse, and to assist investigators in their continued investigation of the allegations. Equally important is the video recording of the interview so that a child does not have to retell their story multiple times and re-traumatize them.
Our forensic interviewers also provide expert witness testimony to support the prosecution of offenders. They educate juries and judicial staff about forensic interviewing and the process of disclosure by a child.
The Children’s Safehouse staff provide interagency coordination between law enforcement agencies, the District Attorney’s Office, and New Mexico Children Youth & Families Department with real time case tracking. This steamlines the investigation process and aids higher conviction rates throughout the state.
Family Advocates work with each family to navigate the services needed to support the children and their families affected by trauma after the forensic interview is conducted. We transition families to our Family Wellness Program where a plan for their healing and recovery can begin.
“It is crucial for law enforcement to get it right when working with child victims. There are so many opportunities for us in law enforcement to miss something, leave something out, but there is an assurance in knowing a child is going to be completely taken care of when the Children’s Safehouse and its’ staff are involved. The impact of creating an environment specifically geared toward the testament of a child is the one thing that can set a case apart in terms of prosecution potential. The professionalism of the forensic interviewers, not just in the interview itself, but in the follow-up of testimonial evidence being presented in court, is second to none. Children are not only treated as the primary focus, they are also supported through advocacy and assured their families will be supported as well.”