Child Witnesses: Interviewing, Supporting, Protecting

By better supporting child witnesses we can minimise the risk of further trauma and improve the evidence informing our justice system. This event will explore how we can improve the support provided to child witnesses in Scotland.

The context

The March 2015 Evidence and Procedure Review Report by the Scottish Courts Service recognised that '[…] in spite of the significant progress that has been made in respect of legislation for child and vulnerable witnesses, there were clearly still instances where such witnesses were subject to processes in the Courts that were not best suited to their needs'. This led to an ongoing Child and Vulnerable Witnesses Project which published its Report on Joint Investigative Interviews in June 2017.

At the end of June 2017 the Scottish Government published a consultation on supporting child witnesses.

The event

The work of the Evidence and Procedure Review and Scottish Government is likely to lead to changes in existing legislation and guidance but we do not need to wait until this has been published to continue to improve the experiences of child witnesses. This can and should be done now. This event will bring together recent research and examples of practice from across the UK to consider how we can gather evidence to inform the pursuit of justice whilst also supporting the child and minimising the risk of further trauma.

 Key issues to be addressed

  • Hear from young people about what they want from the justice system
  • Consider the importance of Joint Investigative Interviews and how existing practice can be enhanced
  • Look at ground rules hearings and how they can help courts become a more accessible space for child witnesses
  • Explore the wider environment and support provided to child witnesses and ask how they can be improved 

Confirmed speakers

  • Kay McCorquodale, Chief Development and Innovation Officer, Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service
  • Mary Glasgow, Director of Children and Family Services and External Affairs, Children 1st
  • Bruce Adamson, Commissioner for Children and Young People in Scotland

 

Agenda*

Session 1: Changing the System to Meet Needs

In this opening session we will consider existing practice in supporting child witnesses in Scotland and reflect on how it could be improved. In doing so we will hear from young people themselves regarding what they want from the justice system.

  • The child’s voice: what we want from the justice system
  • The Evidence and Procedures Review: findings and recommendations
  • A rights-based approach to children in the justice system

Session 2: Gathering Evidence Whilst Protecting Wellbeing

There is positive practice ongoing across the world that Scotland can draw upon to inform its work with child witnesses. In this session we will look at the journey towards improved child witness support that has taken place in England and consider how we can improve the essential practice of conducting Joint Investigative Interviews (JIIs).

  • Supporting witnesses in England – a journey to improved witness support
  • Joint Investigative Interviews (including the NICHD Protocol and Stepwise Approach)

Session 3: Creating a Child-centred Justice System

The new processes and systems we introduce will have minimal impact unless we can create an environment where the child feels safe and supported. In this final session we will consider what we can do in the lead-up to and during a case that will help the child throughout.

  • Children and the courts: listening and engaging
  • Ground Rules Hearings: what are they and how can they help?
  • Exploring the principle behind the Barnehus approach: interview centres, wraparound services and the Child House model

*Agenda subject to change

Venue

The Law Society, Atria One, 144 Morrison St, Edinburgh EH3 8EX | Map

Costs

Delegate Rates (excluding VAT)

  • Discounted rate: £145 (Voluntary / charitable organisations with an annual income of less than £1m)
  • Reduced rate: 1 place £245 | 2+ places £195 (Central government departments and agencies, local authorities, universities, colleges, NHS, police, professional associations and voluntary / charitable organisations with an annual income over £1m)
  • Full rate: 1 place £295 | 2+ places £245 (Commercial organisations e.g. plc, Ltd, LLP)
For more information please email enquiries@holyrood.com or phone 0131 285 1635
Dates
31 October 2017

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