Police child abuse interviewer to be based in Mandurah

In a first for the Peel region, children who are victims of abuse will be able to participate in police interviews locally, without having to travel to Perth.

An officer from the Mandurah Police district detectives branch has recently been trained to conduct interviews with children and incapable adults, from the local office.

In the 2017 to 2018 financial year, there was 576 investigations of child abuse in Peel according to statistics provided by the Department of Communities.

This prevents the child from having to give their evidence orally in court.

WA Police spokeswoman

These included 221 substantiated claims, 136 non substantiated claims, 57 claims unable to be completed, 210 claims in process and three claims were other concerns were assessed.

A WA Police spokeswoman said the majority of interviews conducted by the specially trained officers are with victims or witnesses of sexual and physical assaults.

The spokeswoman said in some instances, the visually recorded interviews could be used as evidence.

"This prevents the child from having to give their evidence orally in court although they may be cross examined on the content of their video," she said.

It helps strengthen the access to this essential response that promotes the safety and support of children who experience such abuse.

Alambee spokeswoman Angela Horbach

Local counselling service, Alambee, provides support to children and their families who have been impacted by child sexual abuse and domestic violence.

Alambee spokeswoman Angela Horbach said the new child interviewer would benefit the community.

"Allambee welcomes the Western Australian Police Force having child specialist interviewers for the Peel region, as it helps strengthen the access to this essential response that promotes the safety and support of children who experience such abuse," she said.

"It also promotes the wellbeing of the child and family by alleviating some of the associated pressures and distress that are likely experienced when having to travel to access such specialist supports outside of Peel."

Department of Communities spokeswoman Jackie Tang said they were committed to providing protection to children who have been victims or are at risk of abuse and neglect.

"The department's primary focus is always to support families to provide a safe and nurturing home for their children," she said.

Information about protecting children and reporting abuse and neglect can be found at: https://www.dcp.wa.gov.au/ChildProtection/Pages/Ifyouareconcernedaboutachild.aspx.