Key Ingredients for Your Agency’s Soft Interview Room

When an agency deals with investigative interviews, environment is key. The details being shared can be incredibly sensitive and personal, and without the right setting, gathering the necessary evidence can become even more difficult.

Interacting with individuals who may have experienced trauma requires a different type of space than speaking with suspects. This is where the elements of a soft interview room come into play. Whereas a professional backdrop is critical for a traditional interview room, the goal with a soft interview room is to create a more supportive environment. The details really count.

What Makes Soft Interview Rooms Unique?

Whether it’s a law enforcement agency, social service agency, healthcare facility, nonprofit or community support group, all types of organizations can benefit from having a soft interview room onsite. These types of spaces are pivotal for aligning with trauma-informed practices. They help prioritize the comfort and wellbeing of the individual, which in turn, helps foster a more productive environment for gathering valuable testimonial evidence.

Compared to a typical onsite interview room for a law enforcement agency, the uniqueness of soft interview rooms lies in several important features. Since these rooms are designed with trauma-informed principles in mind, agencies must consider factors such as color and sensory elements along with their space layout.

1. Privacy

First and foremost, ensure the room is private. Soundproofing the walls is a good option to minimize distractions, as unwanted or loud noises can interrupt the interview and make the interviewee feel less safe and secure.

2. Color

Be sure to consider what color is on the wall. Instead of leaving the walls a stark white, you might try soft colors like blues and greens. Thinking about inviting factors will help your space become a place that promotes a sense of ease when individuals are facing vulnerable topics of conversation.

3. Furniture

Use furniture with soft fabrics that are comfortable to sit in. You want the interview subject to feel relaxed. You might even consider adding soft blankets. Using carpet is also preferable over hardwood. Even putting an area rug in the room can make a huge difference.

4. Lighting

Consider the lighting being used to bring a positive, living room type of setting. Floor lamps and table lamps would be ideal vs overhead lighting. If the room has a window, even better. The natural light and view can make the space feel more open and inviting.

5. Accessories

Some agencies will find it appropriate to add other sensory elements to their space. You can quickly create a safe vibe with scent diffusers and soothing oils, greenery with plants, and neutral artwork on the walls.

6. Resources

In addition, soft interview rooms may provide access to supportive resources, such as informational materials, counseling services, or contact information for external support organizations. This contributes to a holistic approach to addressing the needs of individuals who have experienced trauma.

7. Cameras

When the interview is being recorded, using subtle, covert cameras will always be more comfortable for the interview subject. It’s better to have cameras that are less obtrusive so they aren’t fixated on the fact that they are being recorded, which can make any individual feel even more self-conscious in an already difficult situation.

The unique features of soft interview rooms are intended to foster a compassionate and understanding environment. For that, the use of technology in soft interview rooms must be carefully considered. If you need help designing a trauma-informed interview room, our team at iRecord is here to help! We partner with agencies from start to finish to design and install equipment that suits their space and their mission. Please don’t hesitate to send us a message with any questions. We’re always happy to connect!

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