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Special care for victims’ children

Janice Farman

Port Louis, July 12 (UITV): Two children witnessed crimes last week. From then on, the CDU, social workers and psychologists were put on the blow .History that their depositions are made under the best conditions.


The past week has been strongly marked by two human dramas. In both cases, children witnessed the scene. Janice Farman was reportedly killed in front of her autistic son while Anju Umawatee Somrah's eldest son reportedly saw her father stab her. These minors are aged 10 and 11 respectively. Investigators rely on their testimony to complete their investigations. How do the authorities manage this kind of case where children are involved?


Inspector Shiva Coothen explained that there are special provisions for children. "Already, a child can not give evidence if he is not accompanied by an adult whom he trusts."


Inspectors who take depositions are able to talk to children. Thus they must imperatively use appropriate words and terms, ask questions to have precise answers without abrupt the minor. Police officers do not have any special training for this sharp exercise, says Inspector Shiva Coothen, but within the police it is argued that people with such sensitivities are present.


With regard to children in difficulty or traumatized, the police seek the help of a psychologist to know if he can testify and how credible his testimony is. In such cases, the Child Development Unit (CDU) also comes into play.


All children who are cared for by this organization receive psychological support. However, in the case of Janice Farman's son, this support was redoubled. "This is the case for all children with special needs," says an officer in the ministry. Often, the CDU also uses social workers with the necessary skills to assist them. The case of this child is all the more delicate because he is the key witness in the murder of his mother. As a result, it is under constant surveillance and visits are highly regulated. "Everything he says is noted," says one.


The question that often comes up is: what is the weight of a child's testimony, especially when he has autism or other similar disorders? Our interlocutor explains that everything is decided according to the report of a psychologist. In the case of a traumatized child, it is up to the psychologist to determine when and under what conditions he may testify and whether he must attend the deposition.


It has already been established that Janice's son is fit to speak. "He speaks clearly, has the following ideas and expresses himself without difficulty," says our interlocutor. "This child has all the skills to talk to the investigators."


But all the cases are not the same. Sometimes children are more traumatized than others and are not able to deposit. In this case, the investigation is much more difficult. However, according to a police source, whenever there are children in an investigation, the case becomes more complicated, whether it is healthy or not. "There have been several cases where the children's testimony in court was rejected because they were too fickle. They can not remember the details and change versions. "To add," it's normal for a child not to remember, but it's harmful in these cases "


by Ujjainee Chakraborty