At Safe Shores – The DC Children’s Advocacy Center, our Forensic Services program is made up of highly trained Forensic Interviewers who conduct neutral, fact-finding, and developmentally sensitive interviews with children affected by abuse or are witnesses to violence, on behalf of our MDT partner agencies. (Learn more about these agencies here.) Our goal is to ensure that the voices of children are heard and to prevent the need for a child to tell their story more than once.
When 8-year-old Liam came to Safe Shores for his forensic interview, he was nervous. He had never been to The Bundy Building before, and he didn’t know what to expect. All he knew was after witnessing his uncle’s murder, there were lots of experiences that were new and stressful, and that made him scared to talk about what he had seen.
As Liam walked into the bright and colorful Safe Shores waiting room with his mom, he shyly looked around at the beanbags, books and fish tank. The Forensic Interviewer introduced herself but could tell that Liam was feeling unsure, especially when his mom had to leave to talk to their advocate privately.
The Interviewer wanted to make sure Liam felt as comfortable as possible, so she invited him to sit with her where he could still see his mom through the window of the advocate’s office. With his mom in sight, and a few books to help them get to know one another, Liam warmed up to his Forensic Interviewer and began talking about his favorite TV show characters.
Soon, Liam let the Interviewer know that he was ready for the interview to begin. They made their way to the interview room, where Liam colored while he talked about what he had witnessed. Halfway through, Liam asked how his mom was and wanted to check on her, so the pair took a break. As soon as Liam saw his mom, sitting in the waiting room, a big grin spread across his face and he ran into his mom’s arms, saying, “Mom, that wasn’t scary at all! This is so much fun! Can we come back soon?”
After spending a few moments with his mom, Liam was ready to finish his interview. He bravely walked back to the interview room, feeling safe and secure in telling his story.
By donating to Safe Shores, you can help children like Liam tell their story in a safe, welcoming environment that ensures they aren’t retraumatized by continued recounting of their experiences. In 2022, we hope to expand accessibility to our services and hire additional staff members to increase our capacity to serve kids like Liam. Your donation will make a direct difference in the lives of the children we serve.