Guidelines for Conducting a Victim-Sensitive Interview

J Child Sex Abus. 2015;24(7):717-30. doi: 10.1080/10538712.2015.1077365. Epub 2015 Oct 6.


Victim sensitive interviews allow the adult investigator to gather vital facts from a child. Within these interviews, the investigator is provided with an opportunity to elicit responses from the child regarding allegations that have taken place. These allegations often have many origins and may involve sexual impropriety, abuse, taunting, and torture of a physical nature, verbal nature, or both. The purpose of this article is to provide standardized guidelines that can assist individuals from various occupational fields in conducting victim sensitive interviews. The standardized guidelines provided offer an assemblage of general principles that have consistently appeared within literature as well as in manuals provided by various jurisdictions. These guidelines refer to a practice of conduct that is recommended; however, variance with implementation is allowed. It is assumed that the reader brings a level of clinical experience to the material provided in this article.

Keywords: child abuse; child and adolescent informational interview; child clinical interview; clinical forensic interview; sexual abuse allegations; sexual abuse guidelines; sexual abuse inquiry; victim sensitive interview.

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child Abuse / psychology*
  • Crime Victims / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Interview, Psychological / standards*
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic / standards*