Manama : Dr. Ali bin Fadhl Al Buainain, the Attorney-General, has announced the launch of the “Single Interview in Child Sexual Assault Cases” project, which is the first of its kind in the region, and aims to preserve the child’s psychological health during the investigation process by unifying the criminal procedures for questioning them.
Alastair Long, UK Ambassador to Bahrain, attended the project launch ceremony.
Addressing the inauguration ceremony, the Attorney-General stressed the importance of this project and its positive impact on the children’s mental health, as it aims to unify criminal procedures for both the victim and the defendant in cases of sexual assault involving children.
The project is established in accordance with national standards and puts in place a legal and social system based on the protection of the best rights of children, in a way that preserves their dignity, as well as their psychological and moral integrity, he said.
Dr. Al Buainain commended the efforts of the project’s work team, expressing hope that the project will yield positive results that will be achieved through its application in the judicial work.
The British Ambassador, in his speech, stressed the importance of this project in protecting children’s rights, praising the vision of the Attorney General over the past years and the efforts of the Public Prosecution in this field. He also commended the joint cooperation between the Public Prosecution and the British Embassy, which contributed to transferring the United Kingdom’s experience to the Kingdom of Bahrain in this field.
The Public Prosecution had formed a committee to develop a vision for the “Single Interview in Child Sexual Assault Cases” project in cooperation with Paula Jack, a criminal justice expert at the UK-based NICO Foundation.
The committee, comprising members of the Public Prosecution and representatives of the judiciary, the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Justice, Islamic Affairs and Endowments, and the Legislation and Legal Opinion Commission and the Child Protection Centre at the Ministry of Social Development, submitted its recommendations to the Attorney General regarding the project.
The Public Prosecution also held a training programme on the child questioning mechanism to 869 beneficiaries from a number of concerned authorities, such as the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Health and the Child Protection Centre.
The “Single Interview in Child Sexual Assault Cases” project aims to unify criminal procedures by interrogating the child victims or defendants only once in order to preserve their psychological and mental safety, through using modern technologies to record minors’ statements audio-visually in private investigation rooms. The recording will then be analysed by a specialised psychological team, who will extract basic information therein to be used in the investigation process to ensure the child’s rights and psychological integrity.
This project adds to the kingdom’s child protection system. Its launch is within the efforts made by the Public Prosecution since the issuance of the Law on Restorative Justice for Children and Their Protection from Maltreatment in 2021 to establish a solid system that ensures an effective and meaningful application of its provisions, by achieving its goals aimed at ensuring further care and protection for children throughout the various stages of the criminal case, in accordance with international human rights standards and UN guidelines.