Dover-Foxcroft police design child-centered sexual violence interview room

Sexual violence is traumatic for anyone, but especially for children, who may not understand what happened to them or that they are a victim. As such, advocates argue that interviewing a child multiple times can cause undue stress and should be avoided.

Gretchen Ziemer, an advocate with Rape Response Services in Bangor, said officials often have concerns about children changing their stories if they are asked the same questions over and over.

“Kids will want to do what the adult wants them to do or say what the adult wants them to say,” she told Bangor Daily News reporter Nick McCrea.

McCrea recently wrote a news feature about a room police in Dover-Foxcroft use, that is designed to eliminate distractions for the child and allows multiple people and agencies to watch and listen to the interview.

Excerpt:

DOVER-FOXCROFT, Maine — The bare-walled and plainly decorated room on the second floor of Dover-Foxcroft Police Department might not appear kid-friendly, but law enforcement officials believe victimized children may find some solace and justice inside.

The station is home to a new interview room that area police agencies will use during investigations of alleged sexual assaults against children. It’s part of an effort in Penobscot and Piscataquis counties to change how the state handles interviews involving children and “make it less of an interrogation,” according to Gretchen Ziemer of Rape Response Services.

“Far too often, children are interviewed multiple times, and that causes really undue stress,” Ziemer said during an interview Friday at the police department.

Read the full story and see photos and video of the room here:

http://bangordailynews.com/2013/04/21/news/piscataquis/new-spartan-room-aims-to-minimize-trauma-for-children-being-interviewed-about-sexual-assaults/

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