Achieving Best Evidence in Criminal Proceedings CHILD

Interviewing vulnerable and intimidated children and young people under the Ministry of Justice’s guidance: Achieving Best Evidence in Criminal Proceedings

This investigation of alleged sexual abuse was characterised by wholesale and serious breaches of the ‘Achieving Best Evidence guidelines’” are not words that you, your professionals or the families and children or young people you work with want to hear at the end of a court case. Yet, disappointingly, phrases of this nature are still used too often by Judges when summing up trials or ruling on appeals and too often young victims of crimes are regarded as unreliable witnesses.

Ethica Solutions’ Interviewing vulnerable and intimidated children and young people under the Ministry of Justice’s guidance “Achieving Best Evidence in Criminal Proceedings”, or “ABE”, provides key guidance on interviewing and supporting young victims and witnesses through the criminal justice system. Compliance with guidance is essential if agencies or those working with vulnerable children are to best meet their needs. It is the responsibility of all professionals and agencies to know what best-practice guidance recommends and how to work within its framework. Yet we often hear from professionals who are unsure as to what they can and cannot do when they receive a disclosure of abuse from a child and they are anxious that they might act in a way that could jeopardise the potential criminal investigation that may follow.

This course is an in-depth, practical learning event which provides useful and applicable tips, tactics and strategies for dealing with many of the situations that interviewers from many organisations and agencies might encounter when interviewing children.  Attendees will develop their knowledge and understanding of the guidance as well as enhance their practical application of it through an interactive development programme.

Ethica Solutions’ training events cater for both a much wider and a much more targeted audience because, in each of these cases, we deliver interview exercises and contextualised learning set against the backdrop of the attendees’ day job. Our trainers have significant experience of tailoring learning to our clients’ needs.

This course will significantly enhance your knowledge, understanding and practical skills in this high-risk area of child safeguarding.

Course content:

By the end of this module the attending participants will be able to, amongst other learning outcomes:

  • Define a “Vulnerable” victim and witness
  • Define when a person might be considered as an “Intimidated” victim or witness
  • List all “Special Measures” that a vulnerable and/or intimidated victim or witness may be eligible for
  • Explain when a victim or witness should be considered ‘competent’ under the relevant legislation
  • Explain those “Special Measures” in context of the participant’s local working environment
  • Demonstrate the ability to take notes during an interview in such a way that enables the identification and management of interview topics dynamically during a live-time interview
  • Explain the possible advantages and potential disadvantages of ‘open’, ‘specific closed’, ‘forced choice’ and ‘leading’ questions
  • Demonstrate the ability to apply those four question types appropriately during a live-time interview
  • Demonstrate the ability to obtain, in an ethical manner that complies with the Ministry of Justice’s guidance and recent court findings and case law, relevant detail
  • Demonstrate the ability to perform the role of ‘lead interviewer’ in an interview conducted under the guidance “Achieving Best Evidence in Criminal Proceedings”
  • Demonstrate the ability to perform the role of the second-interviewer / note-taker in an interview conducted under the guidance “Achieving Best Evidence in Criminal Proceedings”

Module duration and delivery methodology

The above list is not a definitive catalogue of learning outcomes that will be achieved during this five-day long learning event, merely a sample of the depth and nature of the attendees’ development thresholds. You will see that many of the learning outcomes start with “Demonstrate the ability to …”. This is because this is a very practical and interactive course where the learners will be working with experienced practitioners as their trainers in simulated interview exercises. Delegates will also work with professional role players who bring a vast amount of experience in this area of work. Feedback from the role-players is often said to be one of the most valuable elements of the course.

The full course is of five days duration. Alternative options exist for managers or those delegates who have received ABE guidance in the past and now need refresher /update training. Please enquire directly with us to discuss your specific needs.


Who should attend?

ABE does not only apply to the Police service. This course is also designed for those professionals, Children’s Services social care staff and those regularly employed personnel participating in joint-interviews and joint-investigations indicated in Her Majesty’s Government’s publication “Working Together to Safeguard Children”.  It is also relevant for all professionals involved in face-to-face working with children and young people including healthcare professionals, children’s charities workers and those from schools, colleges and other educational establishments.

The Code of Practice for Victims of Crime list three categories of people who are eligible for “Enhanced Entitlements” to support and assist them through the Criminal Justice system. These are:

  1. Victims of the most serious crimes
  2. Persistently targeted victims; and
  3. Vulnerable and / or Intimidated victims.

It follows that the organisations who are required to provide the services (listed within the code) are also those organisations to which this course is applicable.

Contact us for more information about our Safeguarding Courses

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