The forensic interviewing of children course with avatar practice is based on current best evidenced knowledge for professionals in the field. The program has been developed over years by the National Children’s Advocacy Centre in Huntsville, U.S and is today used by professionals all over the world.
This course offers basic training in child forensic interviews with a specific focus on challenging situation such as interviewing small children and those with special needs. The course consists of one-week online training including lectures and practical training with a chid avatar. After that fictive cases will be sent out for the participants to practice on with an avatar and together with a college. The whole course stretches over a 6 month period. The goals are:
- That the child should feel that they are in a child-friendly environment
- That the child should feel safe and respected during the interview
- To facilitate and enable the child to tell what the child might have experienced
The avatar based training gives forensic interviewers a tool to practice their training on fictitious children. It enables professionals to plan and conduct better forensic interviews, being more comfortable in safe guarding children and develop their professional role as forensic interviewer. The tool enables practice of the full interview, from introduction to closing. For a preview of what the Avatar tool looks like, view this tutorial.
What will you learn
The forensic interview training sessions include:
- Building report
- Early engagements
- Interview instructions
- Narrative practice
- Substantive phase
- Narrative Description
- Follow-up Questions
- Closure of the forensic interview
- Multidisciplinary team consultations
- Additional modules based on trainees needs, such as very young children, or those who are reluctant to disclose.
Using the Avatar based interview tool and training method:
- Case examples
- Feedback manual
- Plan and conduct local interview training on the web platform for avatar-based interview training
What people are saying
“We were able to use this course as a key aspect of the preparation of our own national protocol, which will receive confirmation soon and will stay for many years.”
“I would like to repeat and upgrade it every six months.”
“I really enjoyed the dual elements of this being a pan European course and inter country course. I learned so much from my colleagues in my country and found it so interesting to hear about the process in other countries.”
“The Avatar tool is a brilliant idea put into practice. The practice you get is like you were talking to a real child. You can follow child facial expression, you can watch and analyse your own forensic interview and receive comments from others.”
“The Avatar helped me to refine my skills and learn from colleagues in a safe environment. I think it was very useful to be the avatar also and to experience what it is like from a child’s perspective.”
“You could say that I got a job because I took this course.”
About the instructors
Linda Cordisco Steele – Forensic Interview Specialist
Linda Cordisco Steele, MEd, LPC – Linda is a child forensic interview specialist, multi-disciplinary team facilitator, and senior trainer for the National Children’s Advocacy Center (NCAC) in Huntsville, AL. She has conducted more than 500 trainings for the NCAC across the U.S. and abroad. She has presented workshops at local, regional, state, national, and international child abuse conferences.
Her areas of expertise include child forensic interviewing, child development, and working within the multidisciplinary team setting. Linda provides supervision and consultation on forensic interviews locally and nationally. She previously conducted forensic interviews at four other children’s advocacy centers (CACs): Prescott House CAC in Birmingham, AL, The Safehouse in Albuquerque, NM, the CAC of the Bluegrass in Lexington, KY, and Gateway CAC in Morehead, KY.
In addition to providing forensic interviews, Linda served as clinical director for the Prescott House, NCAC, and The Safehouse. While in New Mexico, Linda was the project director of the Mobile Interviewing Project, which serves the Navajo Nation and Zuni Pueblo, as a program of All Faiths Receiving Home in Albuquerque. She has also served as clinical director, director of victim services, and acting executive director of the Crisis Center of Jefferson County in Alabama.
She has over 30 years of experience in therapy and advocacy work with victims and extensive training experience regionally, nationally, and internationally. Linda received her master’s degree in education from the University of Pittsburgh and is a licensed professional counselor.
What trainees say about Linda:
“Linda is natural, accessible, on point, and explained everything very well with references to practice. She gave a clear structure of the interview and actual footage demonstrating the practice. She is excellent in explaining, providing cases and examples to make everything very comprehensive, vivid and understandable. She has a wealth of experience to draw on when responding to questions which we may not have an answer to in the context of our own country. She is a person who inspires people to work on this topic”
Pär Stihl – investigative interviewer and founder of the Avatar
Pär Stihl is a Swedish police officer since 30 years with focus on investigative interviewing of children. Educates police officers and civil investigators at Linnaeus University since 2012. Started to develop web based interview training platform 2013 when he noticed the lack of flexible tools for effective interview training. The interviewer meet different avatars, controlled by another person and the system changes this person’s voice to sound like a child.
The system records the interview session and give interviewer possibility to evaluate and develop their interview skills. Observers can also participate in the interview session in real-time that offers a multi-disciplinary approach of the training sessions.
Interviewers on different levels can exercise their skills in a safe environment, without exposing children of bad interviewing. Children should meet professional interviewers that make children´s voices heard.
What trainees say about Pär:
“The avatar training is new and fantastic and Par’s relaxed measured method of presenting is welcomed in this technical area. Par has a lot of patience and is always on hand to help and figure out issues, Par is a very accessible trainer which is helpful for participants who are not too tech savvy.”
Variable. Often covered in part by project or other funding.
PROMISE Barnahus Network Members have subsidized or – when possible – free access to this type of support. Read more >
Online lectures and online training with child avatar. In-person training may be offered when possible.
5 full days of lectures, followed by about 4 months to complete the practical assignment.
Instruction is offered in English. Countries are encouraged to supply at least 2 interpreters when needed. The online training platform we use supports live interpretation. Translations of the assignment into your national language may be offered.
All spaces for our upcoming trainings on this topic are currently full. Sign up to our waitlist to be eligible for any spots that become available, or to get early access to trainings we schedule in the future.
Participants who take part in at least 80 % of the forensic training lecturers and complete the avatar case examples will receive a Certificate of attendance.
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