Forensic Interview Services
For 25 years, CornerHouse has been a safe place in our community for children, adolescents, and vulnerable adults to talk to skilled and compassionate professionals.
CornerHouse is a children’s advocacy center accredited by the National Children’s Alliance. CornerHouse provides forensic interviews and forensic medical services in a warm, friendly environment. Services are provided free of charge to children, adolescents, and vulnerable adults who are alleged victims of abuse or alleged witnesses to violent crimes. For more information on how the children’s advocacy center model works, please click here.
As the only children's advocacy center in Hennepin County, CornerHouse actively collaborates with a dedicated multidisciplinary team. The multidisciplinary team consists of law enforcement investigators, child/adult protection investigators, Assistant Hennepin County Attorneys, mental health providers, medical personnel, victim advocates, CornerHouse staff, and, when applicable, investigative staff of licensing agencies.
CornerHouse's mission is to ensure that the voices of children and adolescents are heard. CornerHouse is committed to accomplishing this mission based on the following core values:
- Child First Philosophy: the needs of the individual are our first priority.
- Individuals who are suspected victims or witnesses of abuse deserve a safe haven to talk about their experiences.
- We are neutral fact finders, serving the individual and the interests of justice.
- We believe in a collaborative, multidisciplinary approach to assessing abuse in order to reduce trauma for the individual and aid in the investigation.
- We model, teach, and promote best practices by professionals.
Since 1989, CornerHouse has served over 11,000 children, adolescents, and vulnerable adults. CornerHouse practices reduce the risk of potential trauma, improve the system response, and protect the legal rights of all parties, including the accused.
For more information on Forensic Interviews, please click here.
Additional Forensic Services Available
CornerHouse staff members are experts in the field of forensic interviews. We provide a number of services to our colleagues, including:
If a CornerHouse forensic interview or medical exam results in a court appearance, CornerHouse staff and/or medical personnel may provide testimony pursuant to subpoena. Requests for expert testimony, in cases where CornerHouse has not provided interview services, are considered on a fee-for-service basis. Interviewers can testify to a variety of factors that are common to sexual abuse cases, including the process of disclosure, use of interview aids such as anatomical diagrams or dolls, child development, and dynamics of sexual abuse.
Under certain circumstances, interviewers may provide peer review services on a fee-for-service basis. The purpose of this assessment is to assist in the skill development of forensic interviewers. Verbal feedback will be provided to the interviewer via phone or conference call; the interviewer’s supervisor or other team members may be included on the call at the discretion of the contracting agency and CornerHouse. The content of feedback may address the interviewer’s use of the CornerHouse Forensic Interview Protocol; general interviewing techniques and best practices, such as cultural competence and anatomical dolls; and the use of developmentally appropriate questions. At the request of the contracting agency, CornerHouse’s review may include feedback on other specific issues such as narrative practice, interviewing children with disabilities, etc.
CornerHouse is happy to provide free presentations on a wide variety of topics to our multidisciplinary team partners and the general public upon request.
Examples of topics include: Mandated Reporting, Using the RIFCR Protocol, Investigations for Non-Investigators, Introduction to CornerHouse Procedures, and customized presentations.
CornerHouse provides case review opportunities on a monthly basis, as authorized by state statute. All multidisciplinary team members are invited and encouraged to attend. The Case Review process assures the effectiveness of the multidisciplinary team by:
- Reviewing cases on a monthly basis, attending to both micro and macro level issues
- Sharing facts and observations in a confidential environment
- Ensuring that each discipline is represented and heard
- Bringing the knowledge, experience, and expertise of team members together to maximize each person’s ability to fulfill his/her role
- Highlighting best practices
- Maintaining collaboration among the agencies involved
- Following through on recommendations from the team
- Increasing team members’ understanding of the complexity of child abuse cases
- Providing support to team members
Any multidisciplinary team member who wishes to suggest a case for case review may notify the Forensic Services Director at least seven working days prior to the scheduled case review meeting. Case information that is disclosed during case review is to be kept confidential pursuant to professional ethics, agencies’ policies, and MN Statute §626.558 regulating child protection case review teams.
Please contact the Forensic Services Director at 612-813-8337 for more information about any of these additional services.
A more detailed description of CornerHouse's forensic services may be found here.
Click here for a video tour of CornerHouse.
Click here for information about how investigators and prosecutors can access video recordings.
Quotes from caregivers
“At first I thought it was going to be like a police station; to our surprise it was more like a home environment.”
“I was scared for my daughter, but CornerHouse’s staff was wonderful with her.”
“Everyone was so nice and so good at making my daughter feel extremely comfortable. Thank you all for your help. It will never be forgotten!”
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Child Victims’ Act statute