Incest Commission: Ways to protect children from sexual violence


PProtect children now: The Independent Commission on Incest and Sexual Violence Against Children (Ciivise), in its proposals published Thursday, specifically recommends that doctors have a clear obligation to report their suspicions and that all victims have access to specialized treatment for psychological trauma.

“The urgency” is to come to the aid of the 160,000 children who are victims of sexual violence every year, according to the Ciivise, which calls for a profound change in the way institutions work in order to build a “culture of protection”.

The government-created Ciivise, whose work started a year ago and will continue until 2023, publishes its “intermediate results” halfway through twenty recommendations along four axes: identification of child victims, judicial treatment of sexual violence, particularly reparation treatment and prevention.

Doctor, teacher, child judge: any professional who deals with the child should ask him about the existence of sexual violence without waiting for the child to talk about it himself. And report any suspicions.

Doctors, who are particularly good at spotting them, are the source of only 5% of reports, the report says.

“We have to establish clear standards for doctors: systematic identification and the obligation to report suspected cases,” explains the co-president of Ciivise, the children’s judge Edouard Durand. In addition to medical confidentiality and closeness to family, the risk of disciplinary proceedings “inhibit” doctors, he notes.

Complaints to the Bar Association

In December 2020, the Toulouse child psychiatrist Eugénie Izard was ordered to stop working by the Council of the Medical Code after she reported child abuse. The Ciivise recommends “suspending disciplinary proceedings against protective doctors”.

A hearing by the Council of State is scheduled for Thursday on this decision in the medical regulations.

“The law is imprecise. The report is left to the doctor’s free will. But the abusive parents file a complaint with the Order Council. Many doctors are extra cautious and avoid making reports,” said Dr. AFP’s Izard.

Once the sexual violence has been established, “the judiciary must put itself at the level of the child”, according to the Ciivise, which recommends that the hearings of children follow a specific protocol (NICHD), neutral and benevolent, in adapted devices (Uaped or Room Melanie).

These hearings, the recording of which is already mandatory, should be systematically observed by all judges during the proceedings.

“They’re not like that because we, the judges, have the culture of the written record, of the minutes of hearings. However, observing the fear, the disgust, the facial expressions of a child conjuring up a scene does not have the same impact as “to read them,” explains Judge Durand.

Realistic and achievable

While 70% of complaints about sexual violence against children are dismissed, the Ciivise wants these decisions to be “orally explained to the victim” by the prosecutor.

Society must also guarantee victims specialized care in the event of psychotrauma. If they arrive early in the year after the trauma, they can prevent the onset or worsening of psychotrauma.

The Ciivise demands that the victim can appeal against the criminal decision on guilt and sentence. Currently, as a civil party, it can only appeal for damages, not guilt.

“If the accused is acquitted or given a suspended sentence, only the prosecutor can currently appeal. The victim can only appeal the amount of the compensation,” explains Judge Durand.

The Ciivise reiterates two recommendations it made in October: the automatic suspension of parental authority and visitation rights for a parent prosecuted for incest with their child, and their systematic withdrawal if convicted.

“Our recommendations are realistic and achievable, they can be implemented quickly and they improve protection: visiting children at risk, fighting impunity for aggressors and treating victims,” ​​said the Co-President of Ciivise.

In a year of work, the Ciivise received 11,400 certificates. And 150 people testified at six public meetings organized across France.

31/03/2022 04:09:05 – Paris (AFP) – © 2022 AFP

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