On 19 March 2018 policy makers and practitioners met in Latvia for a roundtable discussion on experiences and challenges in protecting with children who are victims of sexual abuse, as well as to discuss PROMISE 2 and its activities. Representatives from Social services of Riga, Ministry of Welfare, Ombudsman office, Department of Social Welfare of Riga city council, Riga Custody court participated in the meeting.
The main challenges mentioned by participants were the lack of information exchange between investigative and child protection institutions, the insufficient availability of therapy covered by the State, and the difficulty of situations when there is only suspicion of potential sexual abuse.
As a result of the roundtable, a questionnaire was created for social services to use for cases of sexual abuse or suspicion of potential sexual abuse. The questionnaire results will be used to prepare recommendations on implementing the Barnahus Quality Standards in cases when criminal proceedings are not initiated.
On 11 June 2018 policy makers and practitioners met in Latvia for a roundtable discussion about the questionnaire created for social services to use for cases of sexual abuse or suspicion of potential sexual abuse. Practitioners will continue to fill out the questionnaire until October 2018.
Experts shared their opinion on the possible procedure for cases when criminal proceedings are not initiated:
- Social service refers the child to a psychological evaluation (5-6 consultations)
- An exploratory interview can be used only when there is no physical evidence or disclosure of a potential crime to report to the police, but there is a reasonable suspicion about the abuse. If the child discloses a potential crime, the interview is stopped, and the case is immediately reported to the police;
- If the child discloses a potential crime after the interview, the research process continues as previously.
Both meetings were organised by Centre Dardedze as part of the PROMISE 2 project.