General Tips for Interviewing

Simply but completely explain to the person who may have been assaulted who you are and what your purpose is.



Let the person know that you understand nervousness and that it is not unusual.



Don’t talk down to the person and don’t assume he or she can’t understand you.



Don’t touch the person.



Maintain an accepting attitude.



Minimize distractions such as a radio or television.



Speak directly to the person who may have been assaulted.



Speak slowly.



Use simple language and vocabulary that the person can understand.



Keep sentences short and simple.



In giving instructions or explaining anything, break it down into small and simple components. Ask for concrete descriptions.



Use pictures, symbols, or actions to convey meaning.



Be patient; take time and allow time.



Don’t ask “why” because it can imply blame.



Repeat questions or rephrase simply if necessary.



Be persistent but calm if the person doesn’t comply or becomes hostile or aggressive.



Ask both yes-no questions and open-ended questions to cross-check information.



Use acceptable language with everyone (e.g. “person with a disability,” “experiences,” “conditions,” “individual,” or “person”).





Baladerian, N.J., Heisler, C., & Hertica, M. (n.d.) Child abuse victims with disabilities: A curriculum for law  enforcement first responders and child protective services frontline workers-participant manual. California: Child abuse and neglect disability outreach program of arc riverside. Retrieved from