A three-day child forensic and investigative interviewing training workshop began here Tuesday for police officers and social workers.
It is the first time such a session is being held in Saint Lucia.
Director of Human Services, Elizabeth Lewis, said she was happy that the workshop was underway.
She said the session was ‘extremely important’ as it would train police officers and social workers in collecting information from children who are victims of abuse.
“You would recognise that as we work with children who are victims of abuse it is important for us to be able to gather our information in a non-traumatic way,” Lewis explained.
She said it was also important to gather information that could lead to an arrest, especially in cases of child abuse.
The Director of Human Services expressed the hope that at the end of the workshop, Saint Lucia would have a cadre of trained child forensic interviewers, resulting in an improvement in the collection of information from children who are victims of abuse.
“What we see sometimes is that information is taken at different points and in different ways and children sometimes have to be retelling the stories to different people,” Lewis observed.
She said that an attempt is being made to centralise the information so the children are placed with only one group of persons who will be the ones equipped to be able to take information from them.
Lewis expressed the view that this would enhance child protection services in Saint Lucia, since children will feel a lot safer.
“We are hoping that people will come forward when there are cases of abuse, knowing that they will not be re-traumatised when they give evidence,” Lewis stated.
The workshop, which is being held at the Mental Wellness Centre, is funded mainly by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).