Fresh look puts child victims first
THE hard-working team of 27 detectives and plain clothes constables at the Ipswich Child Protection and Investigation Unit relies heavily on the relationship they build with vulnerable kids.
That relationship will only be enhanced with the refurbishment of the child victims interview room at Yamanto police station.
Police in the Ipswich CPIU enlisted the help of businesses and residents to create a comfortable and child-friendly environment where experienced investigators speak to young victims.
Dealing with children who are physically or sexually abused means police have to make their interview environment as comfortable as possible, to ensure victims can provide them with the information needed for a prosecution.
CPIU Acting Detective Senior Sergeant Dave Hunter said interviewing vulnerable children was vastly different to speaking to adults.
"We formerly shared a room that was used to interview adult offenders, and often the kids couldn't even see over the desk,” Snr Sgt Hunter said.
"It was quite confronting for them and it became hard to engage them. It's our job to create an environment where these children feel like they can speak freely,” he said.
"It is certainly not an interrogation. We are talking about children who could be as young as three or four years old, who we have never met before and they don't always understand why they are speaking to a police officer.”
The Ipswich CPIU handles more than 1500 calls a year, with about a third of those progressing to a stage where young victims need to be interviewed at the Yamanto station.
Some police interviews are also conducted at the schools of at-risk children.
The converted ICARE room features donated flooring, furniture and wall decorations, with police officers chipping in on the painting.
Fantastic Furniture, Style Flooring and Preference Floors were involved, as well as local resident Donna Hadfield.