NI: Ford welcomes report into interviews with child victims and witnesses

Justice Minister David Ford
Justice Minister David Ford

Justice 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 explores current practice in conducting video recorded interviews with child victims and witnesses.

The research project - funded by the Department of Justice, the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI), the Safeguarding Board for Northern Ireland (SBNI) and the NSPCC - examined what works well in investigative interviews (ABE interviews) with child witnesses.

The report said there are “high levels of awareness, understanding and implementation of the ABE process, high levels of engagement with specialist training and refresher courses and regular use of a number of cognitive interviewing techniques”.

Responding to the report’s publication, Mr 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.”

Share icon
Share this article: