Implementing the Model National Response
Judiciary and prosecutors
- Judiciary and prosecutors have the specialist knowledge and skills required to enable positive judicial outcomes for CSEA victims.
- The needs of the victim are paramount during the judicial process and appropriate support is provided throughout.
- Judiciary and prosecutors dealing with CSEA cases have a clear awareness and understanding of the context and circumstances in which CSEA cases can take place, the potential vulnerability of victims/witnesses, and the methodologies and profiles of offenders.
- Victims and witnesses are given access to emotional and psychological support.
- Judiciary understand the risk posed by child sexual offenders and the gravity of the crime and sentence accordingly within the parameters established by relevant national legislation.
Why is it needed?
- Children and young people who have been the subject of sexual abuse and/or exploitation require a very high level of support to be able to participate effectively in the judicial process and maintain their engagement throughout.
- Victims need to be protected from any negative or long-term emotional or psychological damage from the judicial process.
- Judges and Prosecutors armed with the appropriate skills and knowledge can ensure that everyone engaged in the judicial process fully understands the factors that could negatively affect CSEA cases and mitigate against these whilst ensuring due legal process is followed.
- Successful prosecutions will increase public and victim confidence in the judicial process which will encourage more people to report CSEA to law enforcement and this will act as a deterrent to offenders.
- Effective victim support – that does not hamper a country’s due legal process – should be developed and provided by people with specialist knowledge and skills. This can come from a wide range of statutory and non-statutory organisations.
- Factors that could affect the credibility or reliability of a child or young person need to be understood and taken into consideration by the judiciary and prosecutors to ensure they are balanced and do not negatively impact proceedings. Examples include inconsistent accounts by victims and reluctance to participate in the criminal justice process.
- Specific measures need to be in place before, during and after the trial to ensure victims are supported throughout the process. Examples include: Explaining proceedings to victims in age-appropriate language.
- Involving parents or guardians, where possible and appropriate
- Allowing the use of non-standard methods of giving evidence such as a live video link.
- Prosecutors should be aware of the type and range of support available and, where required, signpost this support to the child or young person (or their parent/guardian/caregiver).
- Psychological and wellness support should be provided for judiciary staff involved in CSEA cases.