Non-offending parents or caregivers are usually interviewed before the child. The reason for this order is that, in most cases, the child’s statements and behavior are the best means for determining whether sexual abuse occurred. Consequently, having some information before the interview with the child is helpful. In addition, knowing some details may be useful in later interviews with the alleged offender.
The investigative or assessment interview with the parent not being accused of abuse has several purposes:
Remember that the child interview is the primary means for gathering information to determine the likelihood of the sexual abuse. Simply answering the investigator’s questions truthfully and to the best of your ability will be helpful to the process.
The person accused of abuse may be interviewed by either law enforcement or CPS. The law enforcement officer can and may obtain a warrant to search the premises and seize relevant physical evidence and has the capacity to “preserve the chain of evidence,” so that the physical evidence will be admissible in court. Police officers are also the only professionals who can make arrests.