No, according to the confrontation clause in the U.S. Constitution, it is the defendant’s right to be able to cross-examine their accuser. The recorded interview serves two purposes by (1) eliminating the need for the child to be interviewed multiple times by investigative agencies (2) the recorded interview can be used in trial in addition to the child testifying, often times, lessening the amount of time the child is on the stand.
Children and families must be referred by Children’s Protective Services or Law Enforcement. These are the agencies responsible for investigating reports, and in order to ensure a coordinated investigation, they must be present for the interview and coordinate the appointments.
Only the interviewer and the child are in the room during the interview, unless an interpreter is needed. If an interpreter is needed then The Bridge will contact the appropriate agency to set up a neutral interpreter.
Intervention has to take place to protect children, to get them to a place of healing and to restore their childhood.
Texas Family Code (261.101) states that a person having cause to believe that a child’s physical or mental health or welfare has been or may be adversely affected by the abuse or neglect must report immediately.
Failure to report is punishable by imprisonment for up to 180 days and/or a fine up to $2,000.
Texas Family Code, Chapter 34, 261.101.
Who Must Report:
Any person having cause to believe that a child’s physical or mental health or welfare has been or may be adversely affected by abuse or neglect must report IMMEDIATELY. Professionals shall make a report within 48 hours of the initial suspicion of abuse. A professional may not delegate or rely on another person to make the report.
The identity of an individual making a report under this chapter is confidential and my be disclosed only on the order of a court or to a law enforcement officer for the purposes of conducting a criminal investigation of the report.
You are immune from civil or criminal liability as long as the report is made in “good faith” and “without malice”. “Good Faith” means that you took reasonable steps to learn the facts. “Without Malice” means that you did not intend to injure or violate the rights of another person.
Failure To Report:
Class B Misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for up to 180 days and/or a fine of up to $2,000.
What to Report:
Child’s Name & Age
Address &/or School
Parent’s Name & Address
Any Statements Made by Child
Physical Indicators Observed
Behavioral Indicators Observed
Person Suspected of Abuse or Neglect
Relationship to Child
*Fill in what you know.
The story of how an injury occurred does not make sense or remain consistent
Bruises/burns that have a defined shape
Injuries in places not common with childhood activities
Sexual Abuse Indicators:
Age-inappropriate sexual knowledge
Fear of certain persons or places
Nightmares, bed wetting
Unexplained gifts, money, special privileges
Malnutrition, stealing food
Child is unattended for long periods of time
Exposure to dangerous weapons
Possible Perpetrator Indicators:
Grooming – deliberate actions taken by an adult to form a trusting relationship with a child with the intent of later having sexual contact.
Taking an excessive interest in someone’s child (text messaging, seeking time alone).
Giving gifts or money to the child for no apparent reason.
Talking about topics that are not appropriate for age or relationship (child’s experience with dating or sexual acts, adult topics).
Initiating physical contact with child (tickling, wrestling, lap sitting, kissing, hugging).
Allowing child to have special privileges or break the rules.
*Note to Remember: Not all sexual assault perpetrators are adults. ”
Report Child Abuse to:
Local Law Enforcement
Statewide Hotline: 1-800-252-5400
If a child you know hints, even in a vague way, that abuse has occurred, listen to them. Stay calm. Tell them that you would like to help them. Children often report abuse in small bits to test your reaction see how you will react and determine your trustworthiness.
The following are suggestions for handling a child’s disclosure of abuse:
Be patient, calm, and supportive
If you notice a child is acting out, tell the child you believe them