Q131: My child has been the victim of a sexual assault, how will the police interview my child and can I be there?
A child (anyone under 18 years of age) is deemed 'vulnerable' and is eligible for Special Measures to assist them to give their evidence in court. One such Special Measure, is the opportunity to have their interview video recorded. The interview takes place in a designated room and is recorded by an operator trained in the use of the video recording equipment. The purpose of recording the interview in this way, is, should the Court deem the video to be acceptable, it may then be produced as evidence-in-chief for the prosecution case (this is instead of the child having to attend court in person to answer questions).
The officer in the case will provide the details on the location of the interview, the rooms to be used and the persons to be present and of their roles. Interview supporters (for example parents or carers) may be present either in an adjacent room or in the interview room. Please be aware that in some instances, the officer may consider that the presence of a parent/carer is not necessary/required. One such example is when the parent/carer is also a witness in the case (perhaps being the first person the child has talked to). In such a case, the parent being present at the interview and hearing the full disclosure of the child could potentially be damaging to the case as a whole and therefore it is best that they do not attend. A further example may be where a child has told the officers that he/she did not wish for his parent/carer to be present.
In each case, ultimately it will be at the officer's discretion as to whether an interview supporter (parent/carer) is to be present at the interview. They will base this on all the circumstances of the case. If you have any queries in relation to the video interview procedure, the officer in the case should be able to assist.