“RS MoI Women Network – RS WPON”, financially supported by “Trag” Foundation Belgrade, organized a round table on June 21, 2021 in hotel “Bosna” in Banja Luka dedicated to “Treatment of minors – victims of sexual abuse and exploitation”.
The round table was attended by police officers who deal with this issue in their work from all police administrations in the territory of the Republic of Srpska.
The round table was initiated due to the challenges faced by the subjects of protection of children victims of the most serious forms of sexual abuse and exploitation, which are numerous and more complex every day given the increasing presence of children on the Internet with little or no parental control. When one adds the frequent occurrence of predators in the environment and sometimes in the family, the experiences show that children easily become victims of sexual and other forms of abuse out of curiosity and gullibility, which leaves permanent and unforeseeable consequences. Many subjects involved in the protection of children and minors are primarily engaged in preventive activities, but what is not given enough attention to is what happens when a child has already become a victim of a crime. The question is how to carry out a criminal proceeding without further traumatizing the victim or how to reduce possible traumas to the minimum, while taking care to formally comply with the regulations provided by law and to fully shed light on the crime.
A special attention at the round table was given to the improvement of the police officers’ approach during the interrogation of children and juvenile victims of crime.
The round table analyzed court judgments in specific cases and provided guidelines to improve the quality of the investigation, taking into account primarily the mental health of a child without additional trauma. After a constructive discussion, all participants of the round table agreed that it is necessary to have several thematic meetings with other subjects of protection in the future, primarily with District Prosecutor’s Offices, courts, health institutions and centers for social work in order to find better solutions and overcome problems encountered in practice.