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Ballarat academic bound for Interpol conference

By October 18, 2011No Comments
BALLARAT-based academic Professor Caroline Taylor will speak at an Interpol conference in France next month.Professor Taylor, who is Edith Cowan University’s Social Justice Unit professorial chair and previously worked at the University of Ballarat, will talk on improving ways police respond to and investigate child sexual abuse cases.

The five-day conference in Lyons is for Interpol’s Specialist Group on Serious Crimes against Children.

Professor Taylor has previously worked with the London Metropolitan Police, Scotland Yard and police in Papua New Guinea and South Africa on child sexual assault issues.

“Quite recently there’s been cutting edge findings particularly around disclosure,” Professor Taylor said.

“It’s about getting a child to disclose what has happened to them and getting that testimony into the legal system.”

She said one of the key issues was what prompted children to disclose sexual abuse, which she said could often be finding out there were other victims or being concerned about the welfare of other children.

“Older children can begin to worry the offender will start abusing others and that can be a real trigger. It can be a real selfless act.”

Professor Taylor said she would also speak on the shame and self-blame victims often felt.

“There are a range of factors police must be aware of when interviewing a child.

“You get better quality evidence if you have an understanding of the life world the child has lived through.

“Disclosure is the most dangerous time, trauma wise, because very often disclosure is crisis driven.

“Police need to act in a way that says ‘we care about your whole welfare here’.”

Professor Taylor, who also gives specialist evidence in court cases, including the recent Brother Robert Best trial, said it was a privilege to be invited to speak at the conference.

“If you get the right researcher, and the empirical evidence to support what the police do and what happens to the victims, then it really improves police practice.

“We need to get children to disclose quickly and get an effective wholistic response because currently it doesn’t happen. “People are disclosing years after the abuse and we know now that sex offenders usually have a huge number of victims, so quick disclosure is the key to unlocking all those other victims.”

Read full article from The Courier.