by Theckla Gunga – EM TV News, Port Moresby
Members of the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary and Vanuatu Police are anticipating they will learn new and positive interviewing skills from the Pikinini Witness Workshop that began today.
The training, facilitated through the PNG-Australian Policing Partnership Program, aims to up-skill police officers with interviewing techniques when interrogating minors.
The workshop began in Port Moresby today with five police officers working under the Family and Sexual Violence Unit from Vanuatu, and 15 officer from PNG.
Detective Sergeant Michelle Harris, the Family and Sexual Violence Advisor, said the training would teach the officers why medical evidence is important, as well as the psychological aspect of child development and the trauma suffered by the victim.
“So we teach them (police officers) to try to reduce the secondary victimisation. We are hoping to achieve the strengthening of briefs of evidence for police to present in court and that will lead to more conviction in sexual offences against women and girls,” Detective Sergeant Harris said.
The workshop is designed to develop new skills for police officers when investigating crimes involving minors, particularly sexual offences.
It will feature medical experts, law practitioners and psychologists who will give sessions on how to best speak to minors and get the desired outcome.
Through the support of the Queensland Police, the workshop is into its third session in PNG, but is the first for Vanuatu Police.
Representing Vanuatu Police, Senior Inspector Peter Maru said his officers are eager to grasp the interviewing skills and apply it in their area of operations.
“The officers in Vanuatu need to know these skills because they face difficulties when talking to children,” he said.
Family and Sexual Violence in PNG, Vanuatu and other Pacific countries remains one of the highest criminal offences committed against children.
In the Lae’s Metropolitan Command at least 20 sexual offences are reported to police each month.
Most are committed by trusted individuals and as a result the victims find it difficult to speak out against their perpetrators.
This training is expected to increase officers’ confidence and the ability to carry out quality investigations involving children as witnesses. The workshop ends this Friday.