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A new state-of-the-art facility at the North Invercargill Police Station will provide Southland child and adult sexual abuse complainants, victims and witnesses with a more comfortable and user-friendly environment when they are required to report evidence.
"We are very fortunate to have this facility which offers a sensitive and more welcoming environment for children and adults who are interview subjects in sexual abuse cases," said Acting Area Commander, Inspector Barry Taylor.
The suite was officially opened today by Minister for Police, Annette King, after a karakia whakawatea (blessing) of the building by Ngai Tahu Kaumatua, Michael Skerrett, local iwi and police.
Known as the North Invercargill Police Evidential Interview Suite, the facility meets current best standards in investigative interviewing and is fitted with the latest DVD and digital video technology and transcription tools.
The suite includes an evidential interview room designed particularly with children in mind, featuring a discreetly-placed recording camera and child-friendly furniture. An adjacent monitoring room is used to view an interview in a non-obtrusive way. The suite also houses a 'soft interview room' and stand-alone kitchenette and lounge.
Up until now, Southland sexual abuse complainants, victims and witnesses had been interviewed either at a Child, Youth and Family office or at the Invercargill Police Station, Inspector Taylor said.
"The suite fills a gap in Southland. While it has been funded by NZ Police, it is a resource that will be shared with Child, Youth & Family. It's a significant step forward for victims, both in terms of the environment and our own capabilities in carrying out these kinds of investigations."
It's expected that around 50 people a year would be interviewed at the facility, he said.