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New technology aids advocates in child forensic interviews

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Social workers, law enforcement, and prosecutors in Philadelphia will soon be able to interview child victims of sex abuse at various locations safe for children using new technology.

The new technology being used is mobile equipment called iRecord, a digital video recording and management system designed specifically for interview and interrogation.

The system consists of a small camera, tripod, and a laptop computer. The camera streams the interview of the child to the laptop, and the laptop is in another room where other professionals involved in the interview can witness the interview.

Traditionally, a child who is a victim of an alleged sexual assault is interviewed at the Child Protective Service (CPS) office, or police station. The investigation typically occurs within a 24 to 48 hour time frame of the incident.

According to World Systems, the manufacturer who distributes iRecord, “the system was designed by law enforcement professionals and is built to be in full compliance with current and emerging legislation.”

In case studies law enforcement officials evaluated the system and concluded that iRecord provided ease of use that detectives needed for the criminal interview process.

Other benefits of iRecord include:

● Ear pieces for the interviewer to be fed questions from professionals not in the room.

● Minimization of trauma for the child

● Timely prosecutions

Philadelphia Children’s Alliance, a nonprofit agency, received a $14,295 grant from Ronald McDonald House Charities to purchase the equipment. Other agencies that work with children can find success when they invest in the system as well.

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