What should I tell my child?
“I’m going to take you to see some people who talk to kids about all sorts of things. You’re going to have a check-up and do some talking. You are not in trouble. It’s okay to tell everything that’s happened and to tell the truth.”
What is the Medical Exam?
The medical portion of the assessment is a head-to-toe physical exam with no shots. It is very similar to a well-child check. No part of the exam should be painful or uncomfortable.
Will I be present for the Medical Exam?
No. Your child will be escorted to the exam room by the medical provider and the forensic interviewer. Parents will remain in the waiting area. This allows the child to talk about their experiences in a neutral setting.
What is a Forensic Interview?
A forensic interview is an opportunity for a child to talk about their experiences in a neutral way. It is designed to make your child feel as comfortable as possible while the interviewer gathers detailed and accurate information.
Who will talk to my child?
Your child will talk with a forensic interviewer who has special training and experience in talking with children about potentially difficult subjects. Questions are asked in a non-threatening and non-leading manner at a pace that is comfortable for your child. The interviewer never forces a child to talk to them.
Can I watch the Forensic Interview?
No. Only those people who are directly involved with the investigation are allowed to observe the interview. Children need to be able to talk in a setting that is as neutral as possible.
How long does the Interview last?
The length of the interview will be shaped by your child—by their attention span, their pacing, and how much they have to say. Most interviews last approximately 30-45 minutes. Interviews may be longer with older children. Your child always has the option to take a break or end the interview at any time.
What happens after the Interview?
After the interview, your child will be escorted back to the playroom or waiting area. The assessment team will meet with you to discuss their recommendations for follow-up services. This may include counseling or referrals to other community resources. You will have an opportunity to ask questions of the assessment team, detective, and/or child protective service worker (if they are involved in the assessment).
What happens after the assessment?
When you leave Juliette’s House you may feel tired, relieved, sad, angry, confused or overwhelmed. All of these feelings are normal. Try to avoid expressing intense emotions in front of your child as they may find that frightening. Find people in your life that you can lean on who will listen to you and support you.
The Family Support Team at Juliette’s House is also there for you. We will be contacting you the week after your appointment to help you navigate the next steps. Your child may also be struggling with their feelings, especially right after the assessment, but children also frequently feel relieved after having a chance to tell their stories and be heard. Your child needs to be believed and supported. Don’t ask them any questions about what they said at Juliette’s House but listen if they need to talk. Any conversations between adults about the situation or the investigation should be done when there is no possibility of the child overhearing the conversation. Those conversations can be confusing and frightening for children, even older children.
Law enforcement and DHS will keep you informed about the investigation and status of the case, if there is one. You should feel free to contact them if you have additional information or questions. If you are having a hard time connecting with the detective or caseworker, Juliette’s House will be happy to help you with that.