JIS News

The Steering Committee of the Child Protection Audit has proposed a number of new and innovative measures, designed to provide greater security for child victims and witnesses.
The Children’s Advocate, Mary Clarke, and members of the Committee met with Prime Minister Bruce Golding, at Jamaica House recently. During the meeting, the proposed new measures were presented and discussed by British Child Protection Consultant, Dr Tony Butler. Dr Butler has spearheaded similar programmes in Britain, Cuba, Costa Rica, and the Dominican Republic.
The new measures include the use of video-recording of interviews with child victims and witnesses, a measure which Dr Butler said would be more thorough, more effective and would provide a much more child friendly approach to investigations and the court processes.
According to Dr Butler, this system provides a more structured, friendly, less intrusive and less traumatic way of securing evidence from children, who tend to get confused and nervous during the process of providing evidence in a case.
The Jamaica Constabulary Force is also in the process of designing a video suite to facilitate this new system and the agency is training persons who will assist in this process. Dr Butler noted that there is a need for a more comprehensive approach to the Evidence Act and he has suggested that this concept of video recording be applied to other witnesses, as it affords some amount of dignity to a whole range of persons who would be more encouraged to come forward to provide evidence.
The Prime Minister was advised that the British Government and UNICEF, have been approached to fund aspects of the implementation of the recommendations from the Steering Committee of the Child Protection Audit.
The Children’s Advocate has also called for the examination of the law that relates to sex among teens under the age of consent to make it fairer and just, and to reduce the criminalisation of adolescents.

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