Children's Experiences of undergoing forensic Interviews and forensic medical Examinations in a Danish Child Advocacy Center

Ida Haahr-Pedersen*, Maria Hardeberg Bach, Jytte Banner, Pernille Spitz , Maria Balsløv, Camila Perera, Rikke Holm Bramsen, Maj Hansen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Child abuse is a severe global problem associated with various negative consequences. It is therefore important that the services received at Child Advocacy Centers (CACs) are perceived as positive as possible by children affected by abuse. Preliminary research indicates that CACs are successful in terms of providing coordinated, professional services. However, existing research has primarily focused on service and criminal justice system outputs, rather than documenting the experiences of the target group: i.e., children undergoing the CAC proceedings. The present study seeks to investigate the children’s experiences of the forensic procedures in a CAC. Qualitative interviews were conducted with 15 children undergoing case proceedings at a Danish CAC. The overall experiences of the children of the forensic interview and forensic medical examination were documented. Additionally, five overall themes were constructed using Thematic Analysis: Localities and surroundings, Relational and communicative work, Ambivalent experiences, Need of information and overview, and Missing out on everyday life. The findings of the current study underline the importance of the physical environment of the CAC, the need of information and overview as well as strong relational and communicative skills among professional as core elements in establishing positive encounters with the CAC. Furthermore, the results indicate how negative experiences of visiting a CAC are not necessarily directly linked to the CAC but may be a result of the children experiencing missing out on well-liked everyday activities. Altogether these results are important to consider when planning future CAC visits to support the well-being of the child.
Original languageEnglish
JournalChild Indicators Research
Number of pages21
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2024


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