Seal of Dane County County of Dane
Dane County Department of Human Services

Safe Harbor Interview Center


A social worker interviews a little girl.

Safe Harbor is a child advocacy center serving alleged child victims of abuse and their families.

Children involved in abuse or neglect situations that are likely to result in Juvenile Court or Criminal Court proceedings may be interviewed at Safe Harbor. Human Service social workers and law enforcement officers jointly make decisions about Safe Harbor use.

What to Expect

A trained social worker or police officer conducts each interview, which will also be videotaped for future court-related use. Others (including a district attorney) participate from another room. Parents do not participate in or witness the interview.

Safe Harbor interviews accomplish several goals.

  1. To conduct interviews in a neutral, safe space to make the children being interviewed feel as comfortable as possible.
  2. To ensure children are interviewed once only so that the trauma of repeat interviews is avoided.
  3. To take input from all system parties for the interview, resulting in a superior as a result.

The Result

Safe Harbor interviews bring about fewer trials (as maltreaters will more frequently plead to charges), more successful prosecutions in instances when court proceedings do take place, and fewer (or no) court appearances for children when proceedings take place.


About Safe Harbor

Safe Harbor is a private non-profit agency supported by the county, grant monies, and private and corporate donations. Agencies that participate in the child interview and intervention process are the Dane County Department of Human Services, Dane County District Attorneys Office, Dane County Sheriffs Department, City of Madison Police Department, Rainbow Project, Parental Stress Center / OASIS, SANE program, and many others.

2445 Darwin Rd., Suite 20
Madison, WI 53704

Main Phone: (608) 661-9787


Program Manager: Jennifer Ginsburg
Phone: (608) 251-9230