Forensic Interview Services
CornerHouse Interagency Child Abuse Evaluation and Training Center is committed to improving the assessment and investigation of child abuse, specifically in those cases involving sexual abuse. CornerHouse is an integral component in facilitating the coordination of an interagency multidisciplinary team consisting of Hennepin County professionals from law enforcement, child protection, and the county attorney’s office. The collaboration that takes place among professionals provides an opportunity to share knowledge and expertise pertaining to issues of investigation and the needs of children.
Forensic interviews are conducted in a child friendly environment by professionals trained in a wide spectrum of areas related to childhood development, sexual abuse dynamics, and other pertinent issues pertaining to questioning children regarding allegations of abuse. CornerHouse has adopted the “Child First Philosophy” which states that the needs of a child are given the first priority during the forensic interview process.
CornerHouse attempts to conduct forensic interviews in a manner that is considerate of a child’s culture and ethnicity. In cases where English is not the child’s primary language, CornerHouse will arrange for a court-certified interpreter to be involved in the interview. The anatomical drawings and dolls utilized by CornerHouse in the forensic interview are age and culturally appropriate to the child. The forensic interview is based on the semi-structured CornerHouse Forensic Interview Protocol™ that has been designed through clinical experience and the review of empirical research to maximize the child’s ability to communicate his or her experience. The Forensic Interviewer conducts the interview in a manner that is developmentally appropriate for a child’s cognitive, social, and emotional abilities.
Members of the multidisciplinary team observe the forensic interview through closed-circuit television. CornerHouse videorecords every forensic interview and provides a copy to the primary investigator. Following the forensic interview, the multidisciplinary team members participate in a post-interview meeting for the purpose of coordinating the roles that each professional will assume in the investigation and protection of the child. The responsibility of the CornerHouse Forensic Interviewer is one of maintaining his or her objectivity as a neutral fact finder about a child’s experience. The CornerHouse Forensic Interviewer will provide a written report summarizing the child's affect and ability and the multi disciplinary team's recommendations.
CornerHouse’s vision is that “Children grow up free from abuse.”
“I have no doubt [the CornerHouse staff has] changed the lives and saved the lives of countless children both through… direct contact… and… indirect contact as trainers!”
— Program Parent