Alberta Council of Disability Services

Trauma-Informed Abuse Investigation

The Community Disability Services sector requires delicate and deliberate approaches to investigative interviewing, particularly around allegations of abuse. This course focuses on the theoretical and practical skills related to effective interviewing while accounting for the unique circumstances that support workers face, such as the need to maintain effective communication throughout an investigation involving individuals with disabilities. This course presents material that is current, timely, and relevant for those seeking to develop the skill set to carry out investigations confidently and effectively.

This is an online course containing modules addressing best practices in investigative interviewing; defining and constructing effective questions; eliciting disclosures; developing and adhering to interviewing protocols and scheduled practice sessions with a trained facilitator.

This certification course is made for workers in the Community Disability Services sector, as it combines foundational theories and practices of investigative interviewing with reference to individuals with a disability. Learners will be able to practice their skills in scheduled sessions with trained facilitators and receive feedback for ongoing professional development in this area.


This course was created in partnership with Griffith University's Centre for Investigative Interviewing

The Centre for Investigative Interviewing, founded in Australia by Professor Martine Powell, has created a global revolution in the teaching of investigative interviewing. They have international connections in a wide range of fields, such as border control, human resources, and internet child exploitation investigation. Learn more.



ACDS Members: $850 + GST per learner

Non-members: $1000 + GST per learner

*Given the number of hours expected for learners to complete this course, this program qualifies for the Canada-Alberta Job Grant. Registrants should also consider the Alberta Jobs Now program as additional funding.


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This course is delivered online and taken at the learners own pace over a period of up to one year. Enrolment for the course will start in August 2021.


Module 1: Best practice guidelines


  • Understand the impact of various question styles.
  • Identify the elements of an effective training program in interviewing vulnerable witnesses, along with its benefits.
  • Recognize an open-ended question (as distinct from a specific question).


 Module 2 - Defining the questions


  • Distinguish between open-ended versus specific questions and non-leading versus leading questions.
  • Recognize the various subtypes of open-ended questions.
  • Identify which minimal encouragers are effective in facilitating the use of open-ended questions.


Module 3 - Effective questions


  • Recognize the most appropriate open-ended question among several possible alternatives.
  • Automatically retrieve the various types of open-ended questions that can be used in an interview.


Module 4 - Practicing the right questions


  • Retrieve the various types of open-ended questions that can be used in an interview.
  • Insert ground rules into appropriate places throughout the interview.
  • Incorporate minimal encouragers into your interviewing technique.


Module 5 - Eliciting a disclosure


  • Know which techniques are most useful in eliciting disclosures of abuse from vulnerable witnesses.
  • Generate questions that may be useful (in certain case scenarios) for eliciting disclosures of abuse from a vulnerable witness.


Module 6 – The interview protocol and repeated events


  • Be familiar with the SIM protocol and its various elements.
  • Be able to competently administer the SIM protocol in a mock interview setting.


Frequently Asked Questions

When does this course start?

The course begins after the learner is enrolled on the D2L learning management system. Each learner has one year from the time of their enrollment start date to complete the course.

What is the time commitment requirement?

The time commitment for the course is approximately 21 hours to be completed within 52 weeks. This was an intentional design so that the training is eligible for the Canada-Alberta Job Grant. Actual results will depend on the individual learner, but one year is ample time so that anticipated busy times can be considered.

Are there any prerequisites?

No, there are no formal prerequisites as we wanted this course to be broadly accessible. Those within an organization who have responsibility around compliance, abuse prevention, human resources, etc., as well as those who can benefit in general from dedicated skill-building in the area of open-ended questions, are welcome to register for the training.

How long are each of the sessions?

Sessions are based on six core modules – named with an approximate time estimate (again, individual results will vary):

  • Best practice guidelines = 3 hours
  • Defining the questions = 4 hours
  • Effective questions = 3 hours
  • Practicing the right questions = 3 hours
  • Eliciting a disclosure = 3 hours
  • The Standard Interview Method Protocol = 4 hours
  • A one-hour introduction to the D2L learning management system (because this course exists on D2L and not on ACDS’s Moodle platform, we figured it prudent to have a tutorial segment that will familiarize learners with the platform, prior to the formal modules listed above)