September 20, 2020

Friendly environment for child abuse victims

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Children who are victims of sexual abuse will be interviewed by specially trained officers in more comfortable surroundings thanks to a new initiative.

A groundbreaking deal has been struck between the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service and the Health Services Authority.

The memorandum of understanding is to support the critical investigation processes surrounding young and vulnerable victims or witnesses of crime.

Police Commissioner David Baines and Lizzette Yearwood, Chief Executive of the Cayman Islands Health Services Authority signed the deal.

It has also identified a special site away from police stations where youngsters will feel more comfortable talking about difficult issues.

Mrs Yearwood said: “Any child who has been the victim of sexual assault will now be able to be interviewed in a far more child friendly environment.

“A clinical psychologist will be able to speak to the child and find out what has happened and so too will officers who will be specially trained to deal with the situations.

“The police will be able to carrying out forensic examinations in a place where the child feels more comfortable than in a police station or interview room.”

External funding in the Health Service Authority has paid for recording equipment to allow the programme to get off the ground.

Police Commissioner David Baines

Mrs Yearwood added: “We are looking forward to partnering with the RCIPS to enhance our approach to support this vulnerable population and to bring the perpetrators to justice.

“It is hoped this will help to make the most cost effective use of both agencies resources whilst supporting the critical needs of victims.

The RCIPS Business Manager Mr Peter Davis who steered the memorandum and assisted the two agencies to the agreement said, “This is a cornerstone and ground breaking agreement in safeguarding children that will allow delicate criminal investigations to be conducted through effective partnership and joint working.”

He added “It will allow Police Officers to undergo some access to very sophisticated training in child protection interviews and the Health services to continue to develop its support structures in the care and treatment of victims during the investigation processes.”

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