Child: Witness with Special Needs in Poland

Your Honour, I am scared
Your Honour, I am scared
The first stage of the campaign "Child: Witness with Special Needs" was carried out in Poland in the years 2004-2005. On February 22, 2004, during a ceremony organized by the Ministry of Justice and the Nobody's Children Foundation, 2004 was announced the Year of Child Victims of Crime. Moreover, several programs were inaugurated, aimed at protecting children from crime and supporting child victims of crime who participate in legal procedures.
One component of the campaign was the conference "Helping Child Victims of Crime", held on October 25-26, 2004, and co-organized by three partners: The Office of the Capital City of Warsaw (Social Policy Bureau), The Ministry of Justice, and the Nobody's Children Foundation. The campaign was addressed to professionals - judges, prosecutors, police officers, and psychologists acting as court experts - who participate in legal interventions or help children throughout the process. It was aimed at increasing these professional groups' sensitivity to children's special needs in criminal proceedings and improving their skills and competence related to interviewing children.
Training programs were conducted for these professional groups as part of the campaign, organized in collaboration with the Ministry of Justice and the Mazowsze Social Policy Center. Professionals participating in such legal procedures are also the addressees of the campaign publications, which present research and theory concerning the psychological functioning of child victims and child witnesses, systemic solutions designed and applied in other countries to help such children, as well as Polish experiences in the field.
Books, brochures, and the special edition of the Foundation‘s quarterly "Abused Child: Theory, Research, and Practice" are distributed during training sessions and conferences and sent to relevant law enforcement institutions. Thanks to the Foundation's cooperation with the National Police Headquarters and the Ministry of Justice the campaign posters: "Your Honour, I'm scared" - designed by VA Strategic Communication - have been displayed in most Polish police stations, prosecutor's offices and regional courts.
Moreover, a brochure has been published, "When child is a witness in court", addressed to child witnesses' parents and caregivers. The brochure provides answers to important questions which may appear when a child is going to participate in a trial. The goal has been to make this information available to all parents and caregivers who may need it, so the brochures have been distributed among police stations, prosecutor's offices, courts, and help institutions across Poland. Institutions providing psychological help for abused children have been provided with "I am going to court" booklets, which instruct psychologists and parents about how to familiarize the child with the court, the persons he or she is going to meet there, and the situations to be expected during the court proceedings. The campaign was carried out until the end of 2004, though programs initiated within the campaign are being continued.
The campaign was sponsored by the Office of the Capital City of Warsaw, the Phare Civil Society Program, and the VA Strategic Communication advertising agency.

Submitted by admin on Wed, 2007-06-06 14:23.