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Guide for Forensic Interviewing of Spanish-Speaking Children

NCJ Number
Date Published
35 pages
This guide offers insights and strategies for interviewing Spanish-speaking monolingual and bilingual children and presents suggestions for working within multidisciplinary forensic interview teams.
The first chapter offers tips on how to prepare the interview team and discusses the how the team should be educated concerning the issues impacting interviews with Spanish-speaking children. Advice is presented for handling the logistic demands of working on a forensic interview team, for setting policies, and for increasing the team's comprehension of the Spanish interview. Cultural issues are the topic of the second chapter, particularly in terms of how cultural norms and values may impact an interview. Chapter 3 discusses aspects involved with meeting the child and family, such as how to establish family trust and build a rapport. Advice is also offered on what information should be provided to the family about the forensic interview and the criminal justice system. This advice includes the recommendation to always be honest with families and to keep the focus on the child's well-being. Chapter 4 focuses on the interview itself and offers specific examples of differences between English and Spanish that have the potential to convolute an interview as well as the transcription and translation process. Main points are that interviews with Spanish-speaking children tend to take longer and that the literal translation of a word or phase may be different from its common usage. Tips are also presented for making an informed decision between using Spanish or English for an interview. Chapter 5 turns to a discussion of the role of the interpreter, including aspects of preparation and tips on how interpreters should work with the child and the family. Ground rules are established for interpreters and advice is offered on how to work effectively with interpreters.