Date published: 11 March 2016
The Minister David Ford has welcomed the findings of a report into the standard of interviews with young victims and witnesses of crime.
The Research Report into Criminal Justice Perspectives of Achieving Best Evidence Interviews with Child Witnesses explored current practice in conducting video recorded interviews with child victims and witnesses. It aimed to identify the circumstances under which good practice happens and any actions which could further improve practice.
Following publication of the report, David Ford said: “Young victims and witnesses need particular support to tell the police what has happened to them or what they have witnessed.
“This report tells us that police officers and social workers are highly skilled when interviewing children. I commend them for the excellent work which they carry out in what are often challenging circumstances. The report also recognises the significant assistance which Registered Intermediaries provide especially when young children and children with a learning disability are being interviewed.
“Nevertheless, there is always room for improvement and I welcome the steps that are to be taken to further enhance good practice.”
Neil Anderson, head of services at the NSPCC Northern Ireland said: “NSPCC Northern Ireland welcomes this research as it illustrates good practice when dealing with children who are victims of abuse.
“Children and young people who have suffered harm must receive the most sensitive handling throughout their contact with the criminal justice system.”
He added: “This report will encourage those involved in the interviewing of children while also highlighting and promoting best practice.”
Notes to editors:
1. Achieving Best Evidence guidance sets out good practice for police when interviewing vulnerable and intimidated victims and witnesses, including children, to enable them to give their best possible evidence in criminal proceedings.
2. Registered Intermediaries are communication specialists who assist vulnerable victims, witnesses, suspects and defendants with significant communication problems during the criminal justice process. Further information can be found at: www.dojni.gov.uk/publications/registered-intermediary-schemes
3. The research report into Achieving Best Evidence interviews and the associated action plan are available on the DOJ’s website at:https://www.dojni.gov.uk/publications/good-practice-achieving-best-evidence-interview-child-witnesses-northern-ireland
4. All media enquiries should be directed to the Department of Justice Press Office on 028 9052 6444. Out of office hours please contact the duty press officer via pager number 07699 715440 and your call will be returned.
|Period||11 Mar 2016|