Supporting a Child / Young Person During a Police Investigation / Trial Process
The advice often given to parents / carers is not to talk to their child about the evidence or what happened to them. They are allowed, however, to talk to their child about the court process: who’s who, the building, facts about the process, possible outcomes etc. If the child talks to them they are advised to not guide, question, lead or get them to re-tell it again. They are advised to just listen.
As a professional you may be supporting a child or young person who has made a disclosure that is currently being investigated or is going to trial. If you are supporting a child the same rules apply to you as to parents.
If a child or young person does tell you about something related to the sexual abuse or makes a disclosure:
If a child or young person does tell you about something related to the sexual abuse or makes a disclosure: DO:
· Be supportive
· Be empathic
· Question them
· Lead them
· Ask for details
Ask them if they have told anyone else or if they have told the police. If they haven’t, listen very carefully and note down the FACTS only. If you are able, note down their exact words.
Write up your notes clearly and precisely – facts only – as soon after the session as possible while it is still fresh in your mind. Remember your notes could be called as evidence or you could be called as a witness.
Inform your safe guarding lead as soon as possible and if necessary contact the police to inform them of what has been said to you.
LISTEN – RECORD - REPORT
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