UNICEF supports the implementation of a system of specialized and differentiated care to children who are victims of maltreatment and crimes of abuse and sexual exploitation

Children who are victims of maltreatment and crimes of abuse and sexual exploitation will have, starting in November, a space for specialized and differentiated care in the facilities of the Judicial Police in the islands of Santiago, São Vicente e Sal.

This is a joint initiative between the UNICEF, the Instituto Cabo-Verdiano da Criança e Adolescente (ICCA) "The Cape Verdean Institute of Children and Adolescent" and the Judicial Police of Cape Verde (PJ), and has the objective to provide an adapted environment to care the physical and emotional conditions of children; minimizing the cycle of police reports and to protect the victim of sexual abuse, avoiding his/her excessive exposure to various institutions and bureaucracy. The existing report channels, in spite of performing their role, tend to victimize the victim, therefore, there is the necessity to improve the quality of issues related to reporting and the criminal investigation process; reinforcing more and more the concept of children's rights. This project consists in a space for psychological care installed into the Judicial Police's facilities, equipped with a video and audio system imperceptible to children, creating for them an environment where they can express freely.

For Mrs. Narjess Saidane, the UNICEF Assistant Representative, "the protection of children is not only an objective that all of us have, but is a special responsibility shared by everyone." UNICEF reports, with some satisfaction, the engagement and the achievement of partnerships that are fundamental to child victims of maltreatment and sexual abuse; while recognizing the equally important role that prevention represents as a way to minimize cases of violence against children.

According to Mrs. Madalena Neves, the Minister of Labor, Family and Social Solidarity, "to face the situation of violation of children's rights, it is necessary a network to mobilize partners, communities, NGO's and local institutions, and principally, working with families to reinforce the concept of prevention; identifying signs of maltreatment and sexual abuse."

For the realization of this project, that will also have an appropriate kid's corner with games and toys, a protocol was put into effect that according to the ICCA President, Mrs. Marilena Baessa, " is a step that will accelerate the judicial hearing process of children, where psychological care will work together with the Judicial Police investigation."

She also added "what we really want is only one front door for the criminal report, the physical exam to confirm abuse, the psychological care, and the investigation process; the main purpose of the children's protection network is that the victim is heard only once in a single institution."

According to Mr. José Carlos Correia, the National Director of the Judicial Police, "the spaces will have a video and audio system as well as an appropriate kid's corner, allowing children to be more comfortable to freely express themselves, whether through a drawing, gesture or other behaviors. There will be a monitoring system by specialized technicians, specifically psychologists that will make a report about the children's behavior with the objective that this testimony will have a judicial validation."

The inauguration of these spaces is scheduled for November 20th during the celebration of the XXI Anniversary of the Convention of Children's Rights.


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