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Council of Europe, Seminar, One in five Campaign and Strategic Action plan, the 9 th February 2012 The key to uncovering child sexual abuse: the child-friendly.

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Presentation on theme: "Council of Europe, Seminar, One in five Campaign and Strategic Action plan, the 9 th February 2012 The key to uncovering child sexual abuse: the child-friendly."— Presentation transcript:

1 Council of Europe, Seminar, One in five Campaign and Strategic Action plan, the 9 th February 2012 The key to uncovering child sexual abuse: the child-friendly and multidisciplinary response Bragi Gudbrandsson, General Director, The Government Agency for Child Protection, Iceland

2 Child Sexual Abuse - Crimes of unique nature The vulnerability of the child victim –The silent crime, secrecy of the abuse –Child victims difficulties in disclosures The absence of evidence other than the child´s disclosure –Medical evidence in less than 10% of cases and only conclusive in less than 5% of all cases –Other hard evidence (photos, DNA etc.) or witnesses other than the child victim´s rarely exist –List of sexual abuse indicators does not exist

3 The Child´s Disclosure The Child´s disclosure is the key for: –Ensuring the safety of the child –Providing assistance to the child victim with the aim of physical and psyhcohological recovery –Uncovering the crime in terms of criminal investigation, prosecution and sentencing –Preventing the perpetrator from reoffending Dealing with Child Sexual Abuse is therefore the responsibility of many agencies


5 Multiple interviews – Harmful to the Child Victim All the different agencies: the Child Protection Service, the Medical Profession, the Police etc. need to have the child´s account Repetitive interviews by many professionals in different locations can have very harmful effect for the child victim Retraumatisation – re-victimisation –Refers to painful/stressful re-experiencing of trauma as a consequence of sexual violence

6 Violation of the best interest of the child Investigation often generates painful experiences for the child victim

7 Multiple interviews – Harmful for the Criminal Investigation Repetitive interviews can distort the child´s account –Suggestibility –Leading and misleading questions –Discrepencies in the child´s story The Absence of a child-friendly facilities –High level of stress precludes optimal expression –Police stations or Hospitals: Wrong messages!

8 In the best interest of the child The UN CRC, Article 3.1 In all actions concerning children, whether undertaken by public or private social welfare institutions, courts of law, administrative authorities or legislative bodies, the best interest of the child shall be a primary consideration


10 Children´s House Medical Exams and Evaluation Joint Investigative Interviews Victim Therapy Family Counselling/ Support Education, Training and Research Networking and consultation Local/National Iceland:

11 Forensic vs. Therapeutic Interviewing The goal is discovering the truth, the facts Objective standpoint Alternative explanations are explored Obtaining corroborating details is imperative Establishing the child´s competency is a concern The way information is acquired is strictly governed Expression of emotions in a nurturing environment Advocate who assumes the child is telling the truth Subjective interpretations accepted Nonspecific accounts of abuse are sufficient The credibility of the child is not questioned How information is obtained is not of concern

12 Forensic interviewing Establish rapport with the child in the beginning of the interview process Introduce ground rules of the interview Assessing a child´s developmental level The main task Why are you here today –Emphasis on the free narrative, open ended questions and avoiding suggestibility Closing the interview

13 The Multidisciplinary Approach : Reflected in CoE Conventions and Guidelines Convention CETS No. 201 on Sexual Abuse –Comprehensive: child sexual abuse and exploitation (pornography, prostitution, trafficking) –The principle of child friendly and multiagency approach –Special emphasis on investigative interviews Guidelines for Child-friendly justice (2010) Rec (2011)12 on Children´s rights and social services friendly to children and families

14 Convention CETS No. 201 Principles of Multidisciplinary Approach Prevention: to ensure the co-ordination on a national or local level between the different agencies(Art. 10.1) Protection: Each Party shall establish effective social programs and set up multidisciplinary structures to provide the necessary support for victims, their close relatives and for any person who is responsible for their care (Art. 11.1) Intervention:the development of partnerships or other forms of co-operation between the competent authorities (Art. 15.2) Investigation: Principles and General Measures of Protection (Art. 30 and 31)

15 Convention CETS No. 201 Principles of investigation ensure that investigations and criminal proceedings are carried out in the best interests and respecting the rights of the child. adopt a protective approach towards victims, ensuring that the investigations and criminal proceedings do not aggravate the trauma experienced by the child and that the criminal justice response is followed by assistance, where appropriate. ensure that the investigations and criminal proceedings are treated as priority and carried out without any unjustified delay.

16 Convention CETS No. 201 Investigative interviews a.interviews with the child take place without unjustified delay... b.interviews with the child take place, where necessary, in premises designed or adapted for this purpose; c.interviews with the child are carried out by professionals trained for this purpose; d.the same persons, if possible and where appropriate, conduct all interviews with the child; e.the number of interviews are as limited as possible and in so far as necessary for the purpose of criminal proceedings;

17 CoE Guidelines on Child friendly justice Promoting other child-friendly actions: set up child-friendly, multi-agency and interdisciplinary centers for child victims and witnesses where children could be interviewed and medically examined for forensic purposes, comprehensively assessed and receive all relevant therapeutic services from appropriate professionals CoE Rec(2011)12 on Children´s Rights and Social Services – a comparable recommendation

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