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British Child Protection Consultant, Dr. Tony Butler, who recently conducted a training course on how to effectively conduct video interviews with children who have been victims of abuse, is to return to Jamaica in about three months to review the progress of the police officers.
Dr. Butler conducted a two-week training session with 12 members of the Centre for Investigation of Sexual Offence and Child Abuse (CISOCA) and the Major Investigations Task Force (MIT), between April 14 and 24.
The sessions were aimed at teaching the cops how to conduct proper video-recorded interviews involving children who have been sexually abused. It is hoped that video interviews will significantly reduce the trauma experienced by children who have to endure re-telling their experiences in court, as well as re-shape the way abused children are treated by the legal system in Jamaica.
Dr. Butler said that the ultimate aim is to have the video recordings admitted in court as evidence, but it will require legislation to be passed before that can happen. In the meantime, the recordings are thought to be an effective tool for allowing children to express themselves without unnecessary interferences.
He pointed out that the police will be using the video interviews to make their investigations much more effective. “This is not just about evidence in court, this is about information to pursue the investigation. An interview done correctly will raise all sorts of opportunities for corroboration, which you might not get through an ordinary statement, because you haven’t got the opportunity to go into details,” he explained.
Dr. Butler said the officers have been taught all the skills they need to do the interviews and have been taught how they can monitor themselves. He added that he would be returning to the island to carry out an assessment of their progress. “We’ll be looking at videos that they have made and we’ll have another session in which I’ll give feedback to them,” he said.
He said that during the review sessions he would also “look at how they (the officers) are getting on, talk to them about any problems they have encountered, to see if we can help them with that.”
A participant in the training course, Constable Meleta Simms, of the Clarendon CISOCA, said the training will significantly help investigations, because “sometimes (children) really can’t describe things in detail for you to put it down on paper, so in doing the interview, they will actually be expressing themselves and the court in general will actually be seeing what they are saying and seeing what they are doing.”
In addition to the training, CISOCA now has a state-of-the-art facility, for conducting the video interviews. The facility was outfitted at a cost of

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