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A Cycle of Abuse: Inside the a child forensic interview

Published: Jan. 16, 2021 at 6:23 PM CST
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This story was originally published and aired April 26, 2019, but is being republished after it did not properly transfer onto WSAW’s new web platform.

WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - Forensic interviews require a lot of training and skills, especially for children. Interviewers must keep in mind their brain development, any disabilities, and the trauma they take with them into that interview.

Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin’s Child Advocacy Center (CAC) in Wausau has two child forensic interviewers who take on that task of listening to a child’s experience, recorded in front of a live audience of law enforcement, social workers, prosecutors, and advocates. They do these interviews for crimes across north central Wisconsin.

You can see how the interview is set up here and get a tour of the CAC here.

7 Investigates also asked forensic interviewers Jacqueline Gremler and Alicia Resch about how they conduct the interviews and what parents are concerned about and should know about their interview process. Watch the extended interview above. You can also hop to the questions you’re most interested in in this 20 minute section of their interview:

- 00:47 How much do you know about a case before the interview?

- 03:40 How do you individualize each interview to each child’s needs so they are as open as possible?

- 5:23 What kind of behavior do you see during the interview?

- 11:00 What concerns do parents have when they come here, and how do you help comfort those parents?

- 17:45 How do you balance believe the child and their experience, but not necessarily affirm what happened to them?

*Any children pictured in this coverage have been approved by parents to be included in these videos and are not victims or witnesses of abuse.

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