Sunday, July 16, 2017

Special units or specialized expertise within the police, prosecution and courts 7/15

61. Some States reported on the creation of special units with specialized expertise within the police, e.g. on domestic violence (Bosnia and Herzegovina), hate crime (Canada), violence and victim protection (Italy), or violence against women and children (Japan and State of Palestine). Several States also referred to specialized expertise available within the prosecution service (Sweden), or even in the judiciary (Jordan).

62. The police of Sarajevo Canton in Bosnia and Herzegovina had established a special department to deal only with investigations related to domestic violence.

63. Several Canadian police services have established hate crime units for the reporting and investigation of hate crimes. Many of these hate crime units work directly with the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, which provides police training to improve the identification and documentation of hate crimes. In 2011, a National Centre for Missing Persons and Unidentified Human Remains was established as a division of the RCMP’s Canadian Police Centre for Missing and Exploited Children.

64. Canada also reported on specialized information system that facilitated violent crime investigations through the collation and comparison of data to identify serial crimes. The Violent Crime Linkage Analysis System was a national computer program capturing information on homicides, sexual assaults, abductions and other violent crimes. Through the examination of victimology, offender characteristics and physical, verbal, or sexual offence behaviour, analysts were enabled to link violent, predatory serial crimes which were likely committed by the same offender. This information was provided to investigators in the field to aid in their investigations.

65. In 2005 in China, criminal investigation departments across the nation set up the Nationwide Information System for Missing Persons in response to the murder of missing persons, and in particular the abduction and murder of women. They have also compiled and circulated relevant documents enabling advanced involvement in the search for missing persons and investigation into suspected cases of violation against such persons, in particular suspected cases of violation against women. Those initiatives have resulted in the successful detection of a large number of cases of murder.

66. Although in Finland no difference was made between male and female victims in the process of investigation and prosecution, a social worker was at the disposal of almost every police department to provide assistance when needed in cases of domestic or partner violence. Special units within the criminal police were in charge of investigating different kinds of violence.

67. Specialized police units were established at the provincial level in Italy. These were entrusted with enhancing cooperation with agencies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) regarding a “network” for victim protection and with setting up dedicated reception centres for violence reports.

68. In Japan, police headquarters established Juvenile and Women Aegis Teams (JWAT), exclusively tasked to identify persons showing signs of possible sexual abuse, including accosting and stalking, and to mitigate risks of sexual offences targeting women and children by issuing warnings, guidance, etc.

69. Spain reported on a practical guide for the effective forensic investigation of the crime of femicide that had been developed by civil society and experts from Spain and Latin American States and was already being used in some Latin American States.

 70. In 2008, the State of Palestine established a women’s protection department within the police force to receive women and children victims of domestic violence and deal with cases of sexual abuse committed both within and outside the family  sphere. It compiles reports, investigates victims of attack and takes legal action in complete confidentiality. In addition to legal measures, the department aims to preserve social and family cohesion by attempting to resolve issues and providing additional professional services in collaboration with partner institutions and relevant government ministries.

71. In Angola, the General Command of the National Police/Ministry of Interior, through the National Criminal Investigation Bureau, created a department for domestic violence, decentralized into Provincial Criminal Investigation Offices and Criminal Investigation Departments covering each municipality in Luanda, which was responsible for compiling evidence for criminal proceedings, recording all complaints filed by victims and initiating the relevant proceedings in court as promptly as possible.

72. Sweden reported that most local public prosecution offices had specialists on violence in close relationships. Expertise was maintained through experience gained in operational activities, training and regular network meetings. The specialists on violence in close relationships ensured that competence with respect to legal regulations, practice, methods and evidence was maintained among prosecutors of violent offences in close relationships within the office or, where relevant, a specific team.

 73. In Jordan a specialized judicial body was established within the High Criminal Court to consider cases allegedly involving honour. Training was provided for judges and prosecutors concerning amendments in legislation regarding excuses in murder cases involving adultery.

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