The Child Witness

Presentation

Child-friendly interviewing facilities - Blue rooms

The way in which the affected children participate in legal procedures within pre-court and court proceedings:

  • additionally traumatizes the children;
  • limits their right to tell the story of what happened without fear or anxiety;
  • prevents the gathering of useful evidence material;
  • impedes justice provision.

 

For many years now in Bulgaria we have been working for change in the practice of child hearing, and for putting it in accord with the requirements of the international legislative acts that Bulgaria is also a side to. The goals of such a practice are to evade the additional traumatization of the child in the process of investigation and justice provision, and to protect the child's rights and best interest, at the same time guaranteeing the gathering of full and correct information on a given case, in order to apply effective justice provision. 

In the last 10 years in our country were established specialized rooms for child hearing, the so called “blue rooms” that allow hearing an interrogation by a trained specialist in a child-friendly atmosphere, and in the presence of all relevant participants depending on the corresponding phase of the criminal justice process.

The child and the interrogator are in a specially equipped room that is separated by a venetian glass from the room where all the other participants for the respective phase of the procedure are gathered. The people behind the glass could ask the child some questions through the interrogator, who wears headphones and a microphone.

The interrogation is recorded and the recording could later be used in court. The first rooms in the country, and 9 out of 15 of them, were established by the Social Activities and Practices Institute, while in the case of the rest 5 rooms the Institute supports the teams through training, supervision, and methodological support.

On a national level there is a mobile team of specialists that conduct interrogations based upon request from interested sides.

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