We are writing in response to comments by Robyn Cotterell-Jones, of the Victims of Crime Assistance League (‘‘Intimidating interview’’ Letters 22/10).
Ms Cotterell-Jones expressed concern that the interview room at the new office of the Newcastle Joint Investigation Response Team (JIRT) appeared to be ‘‘sterile and cold’’ and devoid of ‘‘toys and colourful appointments’’.
We want to assure people that the facility is child-focused and child-friendly.
It houses a staff with many years’ experience and dedication in the field of child-abuse investigation. The welfare of children attending our office is our number-one priority.
It was also a key consideration in the design of the new facility.
While the waiting room is brimming with toys, books, colouring-in pencils and DVDs, we purposely keep those items to a minimum in interview rooms.
When interviewing children, our job is to find out important details that will help protect them from further harm and put their abusers before court. That could be difficult if a child was distracted by toys.
And there is only ever one interviewer in the room with a child. If he or she wants, a support person can also be present. Our focus is to make the process as non-threatening as possible.
We encourage anyone with information about child abuse to report it via Crime Stoppers, on 1800 333 000 or the Child Protection Helpline, 132 111.
Newcastle Joint Investigation Response Team
NSW Police Force