Local police and the Cayman Islands Health Services Authority have signed an agreement that will let hospital specialists participate in police interviews with children who are victims of crime.
Royal Cayman Islands Police Service Business Manager Peter Davis said the mutual agreement between to two entities has resulted in a special interview site being created – away from the police station – where sensitive interviews and recordings can be conducted.
The facility will allow child victims to remain close to doctors’ care and will also prevent them, in some cases, from having to testify in court,” Mr. Davis said.
“This is a cornerstone and ground-breaking agreement in safe-guarding children that will allow delicate criminal investigations to be conducted through effective partnership,” he said.
Funding for the independent specialist care site and a part-time child psychologist was provided last year through the charity group Hedge Funds Care Cayman.
The Health Services Authority’s Dr. Greg Hoeksema said the position was needed to deal with an increase in child abuse cases that are being reported here.
Head of Paediatrics at the Cayman Islands Hospital Dr. Marilyn McIntyre said for the past few years, she has been “trying desperately to get some additional support, particularly for child abuse cases,” adding that the current workload of dealing with such cases was too much for one person.
She said the abuse of one child did not just affect that child, it affected future generations. “It is well known that abused children oftentimes go on to be abusive parents.”
Mr. Davis said police would conduct any interviews related to criminal cases that are to come before a court of law, but that they would receive assistance and guidance from doctors who are more experienced in dealing with traumatised children. Mr. Davis said this would also provide invaluable insight and training for officers in dealing with future criminal cases.
He said the arrangement would also make it easier for those kids to receive care while the police conduct their business.
“We are looking forward to partnering with the RCIPS to enhance our approach to support this vulnerable population and to bring the perpetrators to justice,” said Lizzette Yearwood, chief executive officer of the Cayman Islands HSA.