Eight officers of the Vanuatu Police Force (VPF) were part of a training to equip themselves with techniques to handle child sexual and physical abuse cases.

These law enforcement officers come from various police stations and police posts across the country to attend the Child Investigation Course conducted by two New Zealand Police Officers specialised in Child Interviewing.

Made possible by the Australian Federal Police (AFP) through the Pacific Community Law Enforcement Cooperation (PCLEC), the course is design for officers under the Family Protection Unit (FPU) who work with child abuse cases.

According to the VPF Media Unit, this was the first Child Investigation Course conducted in Vanuatu focussing on the investigative interviewing of children.

The officers have been equipped with the knowledge of interview methods for child victims and witnesses and what skills are required to ensure the case reaches the court. Police interviews sometimes can be challenging.

The police officers applied to practise what they have learnt from the course in a demonstration with school children at the Central School in Port Vila.

Acting Director of the Investigation Department, Chief Inspector Donald James said the training will enhance the VPF’s response to child abuse cases, thus ensuring children are safe in communities.

Prosecutors from the Public Prosecutor Office and a professor from Otago University who is a Pediatric Mental Health Specialist were part of the course.

VPF acknowledged the Vanuatu Australian Policing and Justice Program for coordinating the course, Central School and others for engaging in the course.