Including children and young people in reportable conduct investigations

Interviewing children and young people as alleged victims or witnesses

Resources to help you interview children and young people

Whether they are alleged victims or witnesses, children should be interviewed as part of investigations of alleged reportable conduct unless there is a good reason why this should not occur. The approach to interviewing a child is different to interviewing an adult and requires careful thought and planning.

Resources to support organisations to include children and young people in reportable conduct investigations have been developed for the Commission with the assistance of Griffith University’s Centre for Investigative Interviewing.

The resources are designed to help organisations:

  • conduct effective and appropriate interviews with children and young people, and
  • take a trauma-informed approach.

Resources are designed as a package, so we encourage you to consider all of them.

Animated video

The short animation above provides an introduction to interviewing children and young people, as well as addressing some common myths.

Guide for including children and young people in reportable conduct investigations

The guide has two parts:

  • Part A: Standard Child Interview Method – a technique for how to interview children
  • Part B: Guidance for taking a trauma-informed approach to investigations

Download A guide for including children and young people in reportable conduct investigations (PDF 3MB)

Download the guide in accessible Word format (.doc, 351kb)

Child Interview videos

The first video has a mock interview using the standard child interview method from the Guide for including children and young people in reportable conduct investigations.

In the second video, Professor Martine Powell from Griffith University provides commentary explaining the use of the method in the mock interview.

Isabella’s bruise – a mock interview

Isabella’s bruise – the mock interview with commentary by Professor Martine Powell

Why include children and young people in investigations

  • It shows children that their voice is valued and that they will be listened to
    When children and young people are provided with opportunities to participate and feel their views are valued, they are more likely to speak up if they are worried or have experienced abuse.

    This is why participation and empowerment of children is one of Victoria’s Child Safe Standards.
  • It makes for better, more thorough investigations into allegations of reportable conduct
    The evidence of children and young people can be just as reliable as that of adults. When child witnesses and victims are interviewed, investigators have access to important information that they may need in order to make an appropriate finding.
  • The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse showed us what can happen when we fail to listen to voices of children and young people

More than 7,000 survivors gave evidence to the Royal Commission, which found:

  • there were many barriers to children and young people disclosing abuse, including the fear that they wouldn’t be believed or would be blamed
  • when children and young people did disclose abuse, many institutions responded in ways that minimised the abuse and failed to protect them, increasing the impact of the abuse.

Further information

For more information on conducting investigations, the Reportable Conduct Scheme and Child Safe Standards, see: Guides and information sheets