New bipartisan bill package protects children involved in abuse investigations

Categories: Hornberger News

Legislation requires the recording of forensic interviews

State Reps. Jim Runestad, Pamela Hornberger and Robert Kosowski today introduced a bipartisan bill package to require the recording of forensic interviews conducted with children involved in abuse and neglect investigations.

Kosowski, of Westland, said protocol recommends that forensic interviews in child abuse investigations be video recorded, and this legislation will ensure that all jurisdictions are following the same standards.

“These bills are common-sense legislation that protect some of Michigan’s most vulnerable residents – children who have been involved in abuse and neglect situations – while codifying a best practice,” Kosowski said.

The bills also require the Department of Health and Human Services to retain and store the interviews and ensure access is allowed only to authorized persons.

“This package of bills will bring clarity to child abuse cases, protecting the victims, their families and the evidence,” said Hornberger, of Chesterfield Township.

A pilot project conducted by the Governor’s Task Force on Child Abuse and Neglect found that when interviews are recorded more pleas are entered to the original charge, and that a higher percentage of criminal cases were pleaded out rather than going to trial.

“This spares children who have already endured a tremendous amount of trauma the additional stress of having to relive the traumatic events during multiple interviews and in front of a courtroom full of people,” said Runestad, of White Lake.

House Bills 4298-4300 are expected to be referred to the House Judiciary Committee.