Year-old girl became the youngest person who testified in a criminal case in the entire history of British justice. In order that the child is not afraid to talk to strangers, was attracted by a special team of judicial mediators. Baby showed that she did the rapist on a cardboard doll.
The Guardian writes that the experts participating in the trial, considered the decision to bring this little victim to testify justified because the defendant pleaded guilty before appeared before the court. Earlier this month a man was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment for sexual offences against a child.
Questioning the girls have police officers, assisted by a specialist from the register of mediators of the Ministry of justice. These professionals in communications can help law enforcement agencies to engage with juvenile witnesses and adults who have communication problems.
A leading criminologist of the professional organization “Intermediaries for justice” Ladies Joyce Plotnikoff, commenting on the trial, said: “We have made very important. Offenders choose their victims among the most vulnerable in society, believing that they will not be able to talk about what happened. But this is not so.”
In this case, the mediator advised the police how to talk with a toddler who is afraid of strangers and cling to their parents. Thanks to this advice the girl stopped being afraid and started to talk with a mediator and policeman. Answering simple questions, she called the suspect and told him what happened, using a paper doll.
“Interview with very young children is not easy, but they can provide a very reliable and convincing evidence. We help the police to formulate questions sufficiently simple that a child could understand them,” says the mediator.
Communications specialist also helped the police without any problems to take the girl’s saliva sample for DNA analysis. The baby was scared when I saw police in blue gloves, and hid. Then the facilitator asked everyone to wear gloves and tampons and within a few minutes to play, imagining that they brush their teeth. This allowed us to take the girl to swab comfortable for her.
“The investigation of crimes against young children requires special skills. In this study, the subject specialist gave the victim a good support and we were able to understand how best to talk with the child, in order to obtain convincing evidence of the Commission of serious crimes,” said a police officer involved in the investigation.
A mediator who worked with the girl, called her incredibly brave. And called on the Ministry of justice to increase the number of trained specialists in communication in order to provide justice for victims, which is difficult given the testimony.
The chief Prosecutor of the crown and is an expert in the field of protection of victims of violence of girls and women Jenny Hopkins, speaking to the media, said: “Criminals may think that they can escape punishment for violence against a very small child, because their victim can’t testify. However, we have seen that the two-year-old can provide an accurate and clear description of what happened to him, and with the help of mediators and specially trained police and prosecutors, we can build on such testimony compelling the prosecution. This case showed that can be made for young witnesses to let them feel relaxed and the best way to tell about their experiences”.
The British media don’t tell the names of the defendant and the police officers involved in a unique process to protect the identity of the child.
Note, UK is not the only country, where communication with young victims of violence attract special mediators. For example, in Canada three years ago was running a pilot programme with the participation of the dogs-therapists. After meeting with friendly dogs, children begin to feel more confident in their presence. Earlier, a similar psychological service was launched in the United States.