Bipartisan bill package requires the recording of forensic interviews
State Rep. Julie Calley, of Portland, voted in favor of legislation aimed at bringing additional clarity to legal matters involving allegations of child abuse and neglect. The legislation was approved this week in the Michigan House with overwhelming support.
The bipartisan three-bill package requires all forensic interviews conducted at child advocacy centers with children involved in abuse and neglect investigations to be recorded on video.
The bills also allow recorded interviews to be used in certain court hearings, provide protocols for accessing and storing the recordings and increase penalties for intentionally disseminating the recordings to unauthorized individuals.
“These are practices that our local child advocacy centers have already employed,” said Calley. “The goal is to minimize the repeated trauma that a young victim experiences when restating their testimony. I want to support their healing in every way possible.”
The Governor’s Task Force on Child Abuse and Neglect recommended videotaping forensic interviews as a best practice after a pilot program found that recordings resulted in more pleas entered to the original charge rather than going to trial.
House Bills 4298-4300 now move to the Senate for consideration.