Best Social Distancing Practices for Child Advocacy Centers

Since the initial onset of COVID-19, agencies have been urged to consider new ways of managing their critical interviews. Now that social distancing practices are becoming more and more prevalent, we’re facing new challenges and potential security risks to the interview recording process. In order for child advocacy centers to continue serving their communities, they will need to adapt in appropriate ways.

Interview Evidence in the Days of Social Distancing

Even with a slow of the coronavirus spread, agencies should continue to have reliable measures in place to work according to social distancing protocols. One option that some teams have been exploring is to utilize teleforensic interviewing with popular online platforms, such as Zoom. On the surface, this seems like a relatively quick and justifiable fix. But these models actually come with a series of potential pitfalls.

While they have certain basic security measures in place, these teleconferencing platforms simply can’t compete with the level of encryption that more robust solutions offer. This puts interview evidence at risk for interference. It also makes agencies more vulnerable to the possibility of losing entire interview recordings. With so much on the line for a fair trial, these concerns are too great to overlook.

A better direction for child advocacy centers would be to turn to mobile recording and new configurations for on-site interview rooms. There are better ways to modify and adapt the interview process to adhere to social distancing, and some agencies have been practicing mobile options long before COVID. Reviewing what already works well and then making minor adjustments will help agencies operate more effectively.

Best Practices for Child Advocacy Centers

The process for conducting forensic interviews has always been sensitive and challenging. Now with social distancing concerns, the stakes are even higher. But there might be solutions for child advocacy professionals with mobile recording and mobile advocacy centers. If the formal on-site interview rooms are closed for public health risks, agencies may still be able to continue their work with an advocacy center “on wheels,” so to speak.

These vehicles can be equipped with all of recording equipment that one might find at an on-site interview room. The difference though, is that this facility can go anywhere the child needs to meet. Teams will then bypass the risks of the more basic teleforensic process by meeting on-location. The parties can even arrange for safe distancing inside the vehicle itself. Moreover, they won’t have to worry about coming into contact with large populations of people, which they might find at a larger on-site facility or hospital setting.

Child advocacy centers may also want to review more innovative approaches with on-site interview room remodels. Another fantastic option to practice social distancing for interview recordings is to have a split-room setup. Installing plexiglass can divide the space, allowing the child can be on one side of the room while the interviewer is on the other. Ideally the cameras would be arranged in a similar way. A dual-camera configuration on each party could display the recording with a split-screen to offer the court better evidence of the entire interaction.

As with the mobile recording with a specialty vehicle, this type of social distance recording solution wouldn’t need to sacrifice security to document the interview. It just takes a little creativity and industry expertise. That’s where our team at iRecord can help. If your agency needs a better long-term solution for recording and storing your vital interview evidence, please send us a message. We’d be honored to speak with you and discuss your options for a more safe and secure recording solution!

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