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UNICEF underscores urgency of video testimony for young sex abuse victims

Tuesday, October 02, 2012 | 11:29 AM    

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KINGSTON, Jamaica – UNICEF is calling for the urgent passage of legislation to introduce the use of video-recorded evidence for child victims of sexual abuse.

Video testimony would allow children to avoid the often-traumatic experience of having to appear in court to testify against their accused perpetrators. Evidence can also be recorded by children who have witnessed acts of sexual abuse. Video-recorded evidence is one of the proposed amendments to the Evidence Act.

UNICEF and other child-focused agencies have been advocating for passage of the Evidence Act for several months. The Bill to pass the Act, which has been delayed for a number of years is scheduled to be tabled in Parliament in October.

“We are pleased that the Bill to amend the Evidence Act is going before Parliament this month. This is a critical development,” said UNICEF Representative Robert Fuderich.

He underlined the need for urgency in moving the legislation process forward, in the wake of the tragic rape of five females in St James. “Children who have been raped and are made to face their accused attackers in court are victims of a double tragedy. No child should have to endure this ordeal, and no child should have to wait for the slow wheels of legislation. This law has to move forward very swiftly.”

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