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What is a deposition?

Giving a testimony before the court or out-of-court testimony made under oath and recorded by an authorized officer for later use in court.

Who will speak with my child?

During a deposition the state attorney will interview your child. Additionally, the public defender or private attorney and a victim’s advocate will be in the room during the deposition.

Where is the deposition conducted?

Depositions are conducted at the Children’s Advocacy Center, located at 2806 N. Armenia Avenue Tampa, Florida 33607. The Children’s Advocacy Center is a child-friendly, safe environment.

How should I prepare my child for the deposition?

The room where the deposition takes place has several chairs and a table. You will be sitting at the end of the table and the lawyers sit on either side.  The room has two cameras in it and you are being recorded the whole time you are in the room. This is not meant to make you uncomfortable. What you have to say is very important so the lawyers have the deposition recorded so that they can remember everything you had to say.

What happens during the deposition?

At the beginning of the deposition, someone will ask the child to promise to tell the truth. The lawyers will then take turns asking questions. If the child gets confused or doesn’t understand something that is said they are instructed to let the attorneys know.  They are also instructed that if they do not know the answer to a question or do not remember what happened, it is o.k. to tell them that, too.

Why is the deposition videotaped? 

The deposition is recorded so that what you say can be preserved for later review so everything the child says can be remembered and referenced.

May I watch the deposition?

You may not watch the video but, if the lawyers agree, you can watch from another room while in progress.  Only those people who are directly involved in the deposition are allowed to be in the room. This is done for two reasons. The first is to create a neutral setting to reduce the possible stress that can be placed on a child. The second is to avoid any influence that the child’s statements may have on your own knowledge of the alleged crime as you may or may not have been a witness to the alleged crime.

Who will watch the video of my child’s deposition?

All attorneys involved in the case, possibly the defendant, and possibly the Judge.

Will my child have to participate in more than one deposition? 

There is usually only one deposition taken per child witness.

May I ask my child about what happened during the deposition?

Yes, however questions should be limited and direction of the questioning should be sought from the State Attorney’s Office.

Should I get counseling for my child?

Yes. Children may be uncomfortable discussing the abuse with their parents because of shame or guilt. Children dislike seeing their parents upset or angry. Therefore, they may try to protect their parents by not telling them about the abuse. Children may interpret a parent’s negative emotions with the situation as negative feelings toward the child. Reassure your child that you are not upset with them, rather that you are upset with the situation. For the above reasons, it is important to give your child the opportunity to talk with a professional. Children have different needs that must be addressed from the incident to recovery. Should negative emotions and reactions to the abuse remain untreated, or if the child cannot properly express discomfort; a child will only experience greater suffering and trauma. Mental health therapists can apply their special training, knowledge, and experience to help ensure that your child recovers as quickly as possible. Family counseling is also a valuable tool in the road to recovery. Allowing your child to talk to a professional child therapist is a positive step toward healing. The CAC  Advocate will supply you with a list of local mental health professionals in your community.