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 Interview with the Parent or Caregiver not being Accused of Abuse

The investigative or assessment interview with the parent not being accused of abuse has several purposes:

  • To gather additional information about the likelihood of the sexual abuse
  • To determine whether either of the parents is protective and supportive of the victim
  • In some instances, to ascertain if either of the parents has had a role in prompting the child to make or recant an allegation
  • To understand the causes or dynamics leading to the sexual abuse

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.

I spent so much time trying to get people, family especially, to understand the situation, but they would say, “She’s four. She’s never going to remember. Move on. You just need to move on and just put it behind you and forget about it.” Many of them said, “Don’t pursue criminal charges, because then you’re going to engage her in the system.”
- Parent Testimonial

The Interview with the Suspected Abuser

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.