Witness Care Conference opens today

Witness Care Conference opens today

Friday, July 19, 2019

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MAJOR stakeholders in the justice and law-enforcement sectors will join forces to stage Jamaica's first-ever Witness Care Conference at the Faculty of Law, The University of the West Indies, on July 19 and 20th.

Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Paula Llewelyn; Canadian High Commissioner Laurie Peters, and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Resident Representative Denise E Antonio are scheduled to address the event.

The conference will feature international speakers, including a Child Court administrator from Trinidad and Tobago; a Canadian jurist, as well as local justice sector experts.

The conference is a special initiative of the Justice Undertakings for Social Transformation (JUST) Project, which is a Canadian Government-funded programme, and implemented by the Ministry of Justice and the UNDP, Jamaica.

It will be a symposium with a difference, as the care, protection, and welfare of witnesses will take centre stage over the two-day period, with a heavy focus on raising awareness about the importance of witnesses to law and order and the implementation of best practices to strengthen and support the participation of citizens in court processes in Jamaica.

Local experts on witness care will present in panels along with their Trinidadian and Canadian counterparts. Following the participatory panel discussions, a conference document will be produced on the outcome of the sessions, which should lead to a blueprint for the formulation of improved policies on witness care in Jamaica.

The conference begins with an important public forum under the theme: 'Comparative Perspectives on Witness Care, Challenges, Best Practices and Lessons Learned'.

A wide variety of topics will be covered during the conference, all of which are solution-oriented and strategy-focused. These include: creating an enabling environment for witness safety and security, psychosocial interventions and services for witnesses, and the treatment of children and other vulnerable witnesses during the trial process.

The conference will also benefit from the insightful presentation and participation of several key Government agencies including: The Ministry of Justice's Victim Services Division, the Child Protection and Family Services Agency (CPFSA) and the Court Management Services.

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