Michelle M. Peterson
PO Box 343
Hygiene, Colorado 80533-0343
Northern Arizona University
M.Ed., Human Relations
Flagstaff, Arizona (1997)
Arizona State University
B.A., Child Psychology
Tempe, Arizona (1990)
Michelle M. Peterson Consulting
President / Owner, 2007 – Present
Forensic Interviewing Expert and Contract Forensic Interviewer
Provides specialized training in forensic interviewing; minimal facts; credibility assessment of forensic interviews; and child abuse investigations for law enforcement, social services, and other investigative professionals. Conducts forensic interviews for investigative professionals and child advocacy centers across the state of Colorado. Provides expert testimony in the areas of child abuse, child abuse investigations, and child forensic interviewing. Has conducted more than 4,000 and peer reviewed and/or evaluated hundreds of child forensic interviews.
Expert in Prevention of Child Abuse in Youth Serving Organizations
Is a local and national expert on child abuse prevention in youth-serving organizations. Provides testimony on policy and procedures to prevent abuse within youth-serving organizations. Creates child-abuse-prevention policy and procedures. Provides expertise to organizations, agencies, and non-profits around policy and procedures that reflect a child-safe environment.
Expert in Child Abuse Investigations
Provides review and opinion with regard to proper child-abuse-related investigations conducted by social workers and law enforcement officers.
Professional Trainer and Speaker
Is regularly hired to present and speak on child abuse prevention within youth-serving organizations. Speaks to organization leaders, parents, and athletes. Provides training and education to organizational members on new policies and procedures, abuse prevention, and best practices.
Affiliate SafeSport Coordinator for Colorado Amateur Hockey Association (2014-Present)
Provides guidance and expertise to the state governing body for youth hockey with regard to abuse and misconduct within the sport. Writes policy and procedures for all hockey clubs. Provides training and education on abuse prevention in hockey and assists with the investigation of abuse and misconduct reports.
Blue Sky Bridge, Boulder County Child and Family Advocacy Center
Multiple Roles, 2000 – 2010
Director of Forensic Service (2004 – 2010)
Managed and supervised the forensic interviewing department, which included the training department and staff. Conducted videotape interviews of children who alleged abuse or neglect, or who may have been a witness to a violent crime. Worked closely with law enforcement investigators, social services, district attorneys, and other professionals involved in child abuse investigations. Worked closely with the prevention specialist, providing guidance to youth organizations. Provided case consultation, trial preparation, and support to district attorneys who question children on the stand. Testified on a regular basis in criminal cases. Conducted and participated in local and statewide peer reviews. Interviewed more than 3,000 children and acquired more than 1,500 hours of training. Regularly attended Boulder County Sex Assault Review Team meetings to provide expertise regarding child forensic interviews. Recognized across the state as a leading child forensic interviewer and an expert in the field of child abuse.
Trainer (2001 – 2010)
Responsibilities included developing and creating training protocols for agency partners in the areas of forensic interviewing, minimal facts, use of Blue Sky Bridge, assessing and assuring credibility in forensic interviews, interviewing developmentally disabled children, and child abuse investigations. Provided ongoing training across the state to law enforcement personnel, social services, district attorneys, and others involved in child abuse investigations. Trained more than 3,000 agency partners. Continuously achieved “excellent” ratings from agency partners’ training evaluations.
Forensic Interviewer (2000 – 2010)
Initiated and coordinated the first-ever forensic interview program in Boulder County. Conducted more than 150 forensic interviews per year for law enforcement, social services, district attorneys, and judges. Created and implemented the first peer review process in Boulder County. Conducted and participated in local and statewide peer review interviews and provided critiques and feedback. Participated in case consultation and trial preparation and assisted with difficult and challenging cases.
Arizona Department of Economic Security Child Protective Services
Multiple Roles, 1990 – 1998
Program and Project Specialist (1997 – 1998)
Reviewed all reports from mandated reporters to ensure accuracy, efficiency, and consistency. Improved overall performance of the Child Abuse Hotline, ensuring reports of child abuse and neglect were investigated promptly and efficiently.
Directors Office, Assistant (1994 – 1997)
Assisted director and deputy director with oversight of the Division of Children and Family Services, the Division of Developmental Disabilities, and the Division of Aging and Adult Services Administration. Assisted in high-profile child abuse death cases by reviewing the investigation(s) and providing findings to the governor’s office and the director of the department. Responsible for responding to media questions regarding investigations. Prepared legislative testimony for child abuse-related laws for the governor’s office. Responsible for reviewing all high-profile cases released to the media and/or courts involving the death of a child due to abuse. Created and implemented improvement plans that promoted best practices. Stayed abreast of current policy and procedures at national and state level and always strived to improve service delivery and outcomes.
Child Protective Services Specialist II, III and Supervisor (1990 – 1994)
Lead investigator for unit handling cases of severe physical abuse and neglect, sexual abuse, and the death of a child. Responsible for interviewing all children and victims or witnesses. Conducted joint investigations with law enforcement. Provided ongoing case management services for victims and families. Implemented case plans, assessed risk for future abuse, and monitored families towards reunification. Provided crisis counseling when needed. Testified on a regular basis. Performed approximately 800 interviews of children.
Phoenix Children’s Hospital Child Psychiatric Program
Case Manager, 1989 – 1990
Daily interaction and assessment of children hospitalized for behavioral and psychological problems. Preparation of daily medical charts, patient evaluations, treatment reviews, and behavioral records using problem-solving skills, knowledge of the principles of behavior modification, extensive knowledge in child development, childhood psychiatry, and medical disorders.
Westbridge Adolescence Psychiatric Hospital
Case Manager, 1988 – 1989
Assisted adolescents with daily activities, providing supervision and support. Required knowledge of adolescent behavioral disorders and appropriate treatment. Conducted group activities to build self-esteem, set goals, and manage behavior.
Training and Speaking Events
- What is Happening in Youth Sports Today? How to Keep Our Athletes Safe From Abuse and Misconduct. 34th International Symposium on Child Abuse Conference. 2018.
- What Happens When Abuse Happens in Youth Sports. National Alliance for Youth Sports Conference. 2018.
- SAFESPORT Training: Abuse and Misconduct Training to Olympic Sports. S. Center for SafeSport. 2017.
- Forensic Interviewing Children. Colorado Law Enforcement Officers Association. 2012–2013.
- Credibility Assessment and Forensic Interviewing. Boulder Police Department. 2001–2014.
- Annual Peer Review. Boulder Police Department. 2001–2010.
- Annual Minimal Facts Training. Boulder Police Department. 2003–2010.
- Annual Minimal Facts Training. Longmont Police Department. 2001–2010.
- Blue Sky Bridge Training. Longmont Police Department. 2001–2010.
- Minimal Facts and Credibility. Longmont Police Department. 2006.
- Forensic Interviewing Training. Longmont Police Department. 2002.
- How to Use Blue Sky Bridge. Longmont Police Department. 2000.
- Minimal Facts Training. Boulder County Sheriff. 2008–2009.
- Avista Hospital Emergency Room Staff. 2009.
- St. Vrain Valley School District Middle School Counselors. 2007.
- Minimal Facts and Credibility. Akron, Colorado.
- Assessing and Insuring Credibility in Forensic Interviewing.
- Forensic Interviewing Beginning Class. Eastern Counties.
- Forensic Interviewing Training. University of Colorado Police Department.
- Forensic Interviewing Skills: Finding Big Facts With the Small Victim. Fort Collins Police Department and Department of Social Services.
- Developmentally Disabled Victims of Crime. Department of Social Services.
- Child Sex Assault Investigations. Broomfield Police Department. 2002.
- Forensic Interviewing Training. Broomfield Police Department. 2002.
- Forensic Interviewing Training. Department of Social Services, Boulder County.
- Child Forensic Interviewing. Fort Morgan Police Department.
- Child Abuse Prevention Policy and Procedures Training to Coaches, Parents, and Athletes. Colorado Amateur Hockey Association. 2012– Present.
34th International Symposium on Child Abuse
March 19–22, 2018
- How to Survive Cross-Examination for Forensic Interviewers
- Protection Starts Here: Confronting Sexual Abuse in Paradise
- Courtroom Psychology: How to be a Good Witness and Survive in the Courtroom
- Presenting Evidence in Forensic Interviews: HSI’s Prepare and Predict Method
- Four Steps to Organizational Abuse Prevention Culture Change
- When the Child Abuser Has a Bible: Investigating Abuse in Faith Communities
- Evaluating Your Interviews: Ideas and Tips for Self and Peer Review
The 23rd Annual San Diego International Conference on Child and Family Maltreatment
San Diego, California
January 28th – February 2nd, 2018
- Child Interviewing 2018: Update on Research and Practice
- Ethical Dilemmas in Forensic Interviews
- High Reliability to Prevent Abuse in the Catholic Church
- Forensic Interview Forum: Sex Trafficking and Internet Crimes
- Investigative Issues in Missing Persons
- Forensic Interview Forum
- How to Talk with Adolescents About Sex and Sexual Abuse
- On the Witness Stand: Research and Testimony
- Best Practices and Trends in the Scrutiny of Forensic Interviews
USA Swimming SAFESPORT Conference
January 22, -23, 2017
The training included:
- Making a SafeSport Club Almost Inevitable
- Changing the Game Project
- Making It Safe to Talk About Safety
- Teachable Safety Skills
- Sexting: Moving Beyond Scandal to Opportunity
- Why do Kids Disclose? FBI
Make the Commitment; Stop Abuse in Sport, United States Olympic Committee
April 21- 23, 2014
- Prevalence of Child Sexual Abuse: Why We Can’t Leave It to the Professionals
- Identifying Risks and Putting Prevention in the Hands of Local Sports Clubs
- Managing a Crisis
- Prevention and Response to Abuse in Sport
Strategies for Justice- Advanced Investigation and Prosecution of Child Abuse and Exploitation
September 26, – 30 2011
- Approaching Child Abuse Cases with Courage, Passion, and Integrity
- Multidisciplinary Team Response to Abuse
- Responding to Reports of Declining Child Abuse
- Prosecuting Authority Figures
- Sex Offender and Victims: Current Trends
- Incest Perpetrators and Non-Offender Spouses
- Serial Child Torture: Sadistic Child Abuse
- Interviewing Victims of Online Exploitation
- “How Could a Mother” Filicide
- Interviewing Victims of Human Trafficking
- Interviewing and Linguistics of Child Interviews
24th Annual San Diego International Conference on Child and Family Maltreatment
San Diego, California
January 25-29, 2010
- Protocols for 1st Responders to Missing Children
- Shaken Baby
- Developmentally Appropriate Interviewing: NICHD Protocol
- Training Interviewers to Use NICHD Protocol and Peer Review
- Peer Review
- Reluctance, Real and Apparent, and What to Do in the Interview
- Lessons From Research
- Presenting and Cross-Examining Expert Testimony to Critique the Forensic Interview
- Defending the Interview in Court
- Special Issues and Considerations in Interviewing Young Children
Equal Justice for Children
May 4 – 8th, 2009
- Child Abuse Investigations and Emerging Issues
- Preparing Kids for Court
- Medical Experts in Sexual Assault Cases
- Seeking Collaboration in Sex Assault Cases
- Dynamics of Child Victimization
- Linguistics and Interviewing Children and Adolescents
- Juvenile Sex Offenders
- Children Lie, Don’t They? Developmental Influences on Lying and Deception in Children
- Ethics Professionalism in Child Abuse Cases
- Tips for Testifying
- What Research Tells Us About Non-Offending Caregivers and Child Abuse
- Drug Endangered Child Investigations
- Computer Facilitated Crimes Against Children
- Effective Research Supported Use of Anatomical Drawings and Dolls
- Interviewing Culturally Diverse Children and Families
- Effectively Working With Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Youth
- Investigating and Prosecuting Cases with Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities
- The Science of DNA
- Medical Evidence of Child Maltreatment
- Defending the Investigative Interview
- The Link Between Child Abuse, Domestic Violence, and Abuse of Animals
National Children’s Alliance, National Children’s Advocacy Center and National District Attorneys Association Child Abuse Summit: Working Together to Improve Child Abuse Prosecutions
Columbia, South Carolina
September 15 – 18, 2008
- Recent Research Affecting Child Abuse Investigations and Prosecution
- The Effects of Competency Assessment and Oath-Taking on the Forensic Interview
- Multi-Victim Case Planning and Implementation
- Crawford, Hammon, and Davis: Where Are We Now?
- The Search for Corroborating Evidence in Child Abuse Cases
- Preparing the Prosecution Expert Witness for Court
- Trauma Considerations in Child Victim Cases
- Partnering With Federal Investigations Agencies
- Evaluating and Improving the Quality of Forensic Interviews in Your Community
Cornerhouse: Child Sexual Abuse Forensic Interviewing Training
October 2 – 5, 2006
- The Cornerhouse Forensic Interview Process
- Guidelines for Age Appropriate Interview Questions
- Blocks and Problems in Interviews
- Suggestibility: Legal Issues, Medical Issues, Use of Anatomical Dolls
The American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children 14th Annual Colloquium Child Maltreatment Conference
June 21 – 24, 2006
- Establishing a National Interview Diplomat Program
- Now What? When the Unexpected Happens in a Forensic Interview
- Demonstrating Communications in Forensic Interviewing
- Defense Proofing Your Child Interview
- Interviewing Skills: Assessment & Development
- Specialized Interviews: Beyond Sexual Abuse
San Diego International Conference on Child and Family Maltreatment
San Diego, California
January 23 – 27, 2006
- Peer Review of Forensic Interviews
- Interviewing Reticent Children
- Defense Proofing the Forensic Interview
- There Is no Side of Caution: What to Do When Coaching Is a Concern
- Developmental Considerations in Interviewing Preschoolers
- Anatomical Dolls: An Effective Tool in Forensic Child Sexual Abuse Interviews, Part I and II
- Unlocking the Secrets to Being a Witness in Court: A Forensic Interviewer’s Guide for Success
- Cultural Considerations in Forensic Interviewing
- Getting More Accurate Information in Your Forensic Interview: What Research and Experience Has Taught Us, Part I and II
Advanced Forensic Interviewing Training
Ann Arbor, Michigan
May 6 – 10, 2003
- Forensic Interviewing Issues and Models
- Child Interview Methods and Techniques: Documentation, Stages, and Structure
- Child Interview Methods and Techniques: Use of Media in Investigative Interviews
- Lessons From the Research
- Child Development Concepts
- Linguistic Issues
- Child Interview Methods and Techniques: Question Types and Question Design
- Eliciting Details and Other Law Enforcement Concerns
- Interview Practicum
- Interviews and Critique Session
- Interviewing Ethnically and Culturally Diverse Children
- Interviewing Reluctant Children
- Interviewing Children with Disabilities
- Interviewing Teenagers
- Legal Considerations and Effective Testimony and Mock Court
Advanced Investigative Interviewing Training
National Child Advocacy Center
December 11- 14, 2001
- Child Hearsay
- Expert Witnesses
- Peer Review
- Forensic Interviewing
- Reviewing Tapes
- Children With Developmental Disabilities
- Children Who Witness Violence, Credibility
- Expert Witness
- Child Development and Assessment
- NCA Forensic Interview Model
- Traumatized Children
- Repression and Dissociation
- Trauma and Memory
- Extended Forensic Evaluations
- Developmentally Disabled Victims of Crime
- Interviewing Preschool Age Children
- American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children
Investigative Interviewing Training
National Child Advocacy Center
June 12 – 16, 2000
- Dynamics of Sexual and Physical Abuse
- Guidelines for Evaluations of Suspected Sexual Abuse in Children
- Trial Procedures
- Investigative Procedures
- Children Testifying
- Children’s Competence
- Developmental Levels of Children and Assessment
- Working With Adolescence
- Forensic Interviewing
- Peer Review
- Conflict Resolution & Ethics Training, U.S. Center for SafeSport
- Bi-Annual SafeSport USA Hockey Summit
- SafeSport Online Training: Prevention of Child Abuse
- Satanic Ritual Abuse, Wings Foundation
- Myths, Realities, and the Unknown: Internet Contributions to Child Abuse and Youth Deviance, David Finkelhor
- Interviewing the Young Child
- Strategies for Justice
- Interviewing Children Who Witnessed a Homicide
- Internet Crimes Against Children
- Anna Salter, Sex Offenders
- Equal Justice for Children, National District Attorneys Association
- Multi-Disciplinary Team Training
- Team Facilitator Training
- Two-Day Child Interviewing Training
- Investigating Computer Facilitated Crimes Against Children
- Understanding Youth, the Internet and Predators
- Putting the Puzzle Together: How a Child Abuse Case Moves Through the System
- Looking at the Impact of Separation and Loss on Young Children
- Betrayal Trauma: Forgetting, Unawareness, and Treatment Implications
- Care of Trafficking Children: Modern Day Slavery
- Young Children Who Offend: Dynamics and Treatment
- Sexual Abusers: Through Distortions and Denial
- Practical Ways to Assess a Child’s Statement for Validity
- Methamphetamine and Its Effects on Children
- Prosecuting Child Abuse Cases
- Victimization in the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning Community: How We Can Help
- Strategies for Interviewing Avoidant and Reluctant Children
- Corroboration and Credibility Assessment of Reported Child Sexual Abuse
- Assessing the Credibility of Alleged Child Victims of Sexual Abuse
- It Happens to Boys Too: Male Victims of Sexual Abuse
- Challenging Victims—Challenging Cases
- Understanding and Responding to the Sexual Behavior of Children
- Marilyn VanDerbur: A Story of Hope
- How-To of Voice Stress Analyzers
- National Association of Counsel for Children, Expert Witness Training
- Challenging Victims: Challenging Cases, APRI
- Investigative Interviewing and the Courtroom
- How-To of Pretext Phone Calls
- Pretext Phone Calls and Evidence Collection
- How Can I Help? A Non-Therapist Guide to Working With Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse
- Incest Cases: Investigation Through Prosecution
- Sexual Offender Training
- National Institute for Trial Advocacy Training
- Corroboration & Credibility Assessment of Reported Child Sexual Abuse
- Shaken Baby Syndrome
- Investigating Child Sexual Abuse
- Current Issues Facing Professionals Conducting Forensic/Investigative Interviews of Children
- Assessment and Treatment of People With Developmental Disabilities: Sex Offenders and Victims
- Recognizing Signs and Symptoms of Child Abuse: A Medical Model
- Failure to Thrive
- Munchausen’s Syndrome by Proxy: “What Is It and How Do I Recognize It?”
- Trauma Treatment
- Victim Advocate Training
- Traumatic Memory
- Child Perpetrators: When and Why They Assault Other Children
- Victim Rights Act Compliance Training
- Investigative Interviewing
- Interviewing the Reluctant Child
- Current Research in Investigative Interviewing
- Developmental Issues With Child Victims
- Sexually Abusive Youth: Current Approaches and Treatments
- Prior to 1999
- Seventh Statewide Child Abuse Prevention Conference, Tucson, Arizona
- Unconventional Strategies for Helping Disturbed Foster and Adoptive Children, Phoenix, Arizona
- Working With Conduct Disorder Children and Adolescents
- Child Maltreatment: Meeting the Professional Challenge
- Statewide Child Abuse Prevention Conference, Phoenix, Arizona
- Child Protective Services, Specialized Training
- Peer Review Local and Statewide, 2003 to 2010.
- Member of Sex Assault Review Team, Boulder County, Colorado, 2000–2010.
- Policy and Procedure Development for Child Abuse Investigations, Boulder County, Colorado, 2008.
- Governor Appointee to the Juvenile Court Improvement Project Study Committee, Phoenix, Arizona, 1997.
- Member of the Child Fatality Review Process Team, Phoenix, Arizona, 1996.
Professional Affiliations and Certifications
- POST (Peace Officers Standards &Training) Certified, 2010.
- Member of the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children (APSAC).
- Participant on the Child Fatality Review Board (Arizona).
- Trainer for Colorado Law Enforcement Officers Association.
- More than 4,000 courtroom-ready recorded forensic interviews of children who have experienced abuse and/or witnessed a crime.
- Qualified as an expert locally and nationally in the following areas:
- Delayed disclosure
- Forensic interviewing
- Dynamics around child sexual abuse training and child abuse investigations
- Forensic interviewing training
- Child sexual abuse dynamics
- Child abuse in sport
Awards, Recognitions and Publications
- Victim Advocacy Award, Boulder County, Colorado, April 2004 and April 2007.
- Colorado Law Enforcement Officer Magazine, Winter/Spring 2012–13:
- Child Sexual Abuse Investigations: 12 Best Practices for Law Enforcement
- Author of SB13-012: Adding Private Club Coaches to Mandatory Child Abuse Reporting List, signed into law March 2013.
- Colorado Amateur Hockey Association, SafeSport Coordinator & Board Member, 2014–Present.