Posted on December 2nd, 2022

The US Department of Justice

From November 14 to 18, ICITAP conducted two, two-day training programs regarding Forensic Interviewing training to forty (40) male and female officers from the Sri Lankan Police Women & Children’s Bureau who are responsible for conducting investigations involving child abuse, eight (8) Attorney General’s Department Child Abuse Unit prosecutors and seven (7) representatives from the Child Protection Force (a civil society child advocacy group).

Two instructors from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) delivered the training, one of whom is a forensic interview specialist with significant experience in this field. Group one participants received welcoming remarks from the U.S. Ambassador and Group two participants received welcoming remarks from the U.S. Deputy Chief of Mission.

Participants were able to increase their skills and knowledge through observation of scenario-based role playing, case studies and the sharing of knowledge from their different perspectives.

The participants were thoroughly impressed by the victim centric approach used during the interviews which they will utilize during their investigations. Further, feedback was very positive from the participants who had not heard or learned of many of the techniques that were used by the forensic interview specialist during interviews with victims and witnesses.

The Department of Justice’s new Office of Overseas Prosecutorial Development, Assistance and Training (OPDAT) Resident Legal Advisor (RLA) to Sri Lanka also gave a presentation to the groups during the training, in which he shared his experiences while prosecuting the Elizabeth Smart abduction case in Salt Lake City.

The RLA’s remarks were very well received by the prosecutors who were able to learn firsthand the challenges faced by federal prosecutors in that case and the necessity of being thoroughly prepared to respond to any assertions made by defense attorneys of the suspects mental state during the crime. In Sri Lanka, ICITAP works with the support of and in coordination with the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL).

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