- Published on Wednesday, 05 September 2012 10:26
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Speaking on the launching of the National Project for the expeditious processing and passage of cases of child abuse by the criminal justice system of Sri Lanka and for the prevention of secondary victimization of victims of child abuse, UNICEF Sri Lanka Representative, Reza Hossaini said “UNICEF is proud to collaborate with the Ministry of Justice on this very important initiative which will help speed up the process and ensure justice for children” and congratulated the Ministry of Justice and the Attorney Generals Department for placing child rights high on their agenda and addressing the case delays involving children in the criminal justice system.
The Ministry of Justice together with the Attorney General’s Department, Department of Police and the Ministry of Health with the technical assistance and support of UNICEF has launched the national project for the expeditious processing and passage of cases of child abuse by the criminal justice system of Sri Lanka and for the prevention of secondary victimization of victims of child abuse with an aim to give priority to child abuse cases in the several phases of the criminal justice system.
Delay in the investigation, prosecution and final disposal of cases of physical and sexual abuse of children have caused much concern to those genuinely and sincerely interested in the wellbeing and protection of children. The reasons for such delay are many, and are possibly not unique to cases of child abuse.
This new initiative is intended to expedite the processing and disposal of cases of child abuse in less than one year from the date of the complaint to the police. This is sought to be achieved by enlisting the support and cooperation of all stakeholders involved in the process of criminal justice. Primarily the project is aimed at expediting the process of criminal and forensic investigations, and the institution of criminal proceedings, and the conclusion of the trial. It is also sought to ensure the prevention of secondary victimization of child victims of crime when they participate in the criminal justice system, by encouraging the adoption of child friendly and sensitive approaches at the criminal and forensic investigations phase and during judicial proceedings.
The pilot phase of the programme is being implemented within the High Court Zones of Anuradhapura, Batticoloa, Gampaha, Jaffna and Polonnaruwa while the next phase of the pilot programme will be launched in the High Court Zones of Hambantota and Tangalle in September 2012. Awareness programmes have already been conducted since September 2011 for officers of government institutions servicing the criminal justice system including, in particular senior police officers and criminal investigators who are called upon to investigate cases of child abuse, consultant judicial medical officers, probation officers within the above High Court Zones, and officers of the Attorney General’s Department.
The next Awareness and Training Programme for the High Court Zones of Hambantota and Tangalle will be held on 8th and 9th September 2012.