A Virtual Reality Talking Avatar for Investigative Interviews of Maltreat Children

Interviews conducted with the maltreated children are often the primary source of evidence in prosecution. Many alleged incidents of abuse are not prosecuted because the children’s testimony is collected in an unreliable way. Research shows the consistent poor quality of these interviews and highlights the need for better training of Child Protection Services (CPS) and police personnel who interview abused child witnesses. The currently available systems for training of CPS and police personnel are developed in a rigid way that lag behind in generating dynamic responses. Moreover, these systems require human input such as employing an actor mimicking a child or an operator controlling prerecorded child responses during the interactions. This paper demonstrates the prototype of an interview training program with an artificial intelligent Child Avatar in Virtual Reality (VR), enabling CPS and police personnel to practice interviewing with abused children. The program is developed using Unity game engine and artificial intelligence-based technologies such as dialogue models, talking visual avatars, text-to-speech, and speech-to-text components.