What is your signature innovation, your new idea, in one sentence?
Streamlining cooperation between NGOs and police - task force approach to assist and protect trafficked minors throughout criminal investigations.
Describe your innovation. What makes your idea unique and different than others doing work in the field?
It is innovative and unique for Moldova because a police officer and a psychologist work hand-in-hand from the first signal of a possible case of a trafficked and abused child. It is innovative because the operational mode of this task force provides, on the one hand, for adequate treatment and support of the child in going through this traumatic (still) process of investigations and interviews, while building and advancing police officer’s knowledge and skills on special techniques of communication and strengthening rapport with a child, on the other hand. Such a model increases understanding of the practical role of specialists (police, psychologist, social worker, pedagogue etc) working with an abused child and thus increases trust to each other which leads to a complex, multi-agency response to cases of child neglecting and abuse and ultimately to a more effective support provided. Needless to say that such an approach is also benefiting the prosecution as it helps gather better quality material in a more optimal timing.
Delivery Model: How do you implement your innovation and apply it to the challenge/problem you are addressing?
The practice of implementation of a task force approach in dealing with children’ cases, by appointing a psycho-pedagogue and a psychologist to work hand-in-hand with the police officer, enables to identify the (psycho-social and legal) status of the child prior to the investigative interview, his/her needs and risks and thus engage a relevant work scheme that will facilitate communication between parties involved and allow a reassuring environment, reducing the secondary victimization of the child, organize necessary support for the child by bringing-in other specialized/competent service providers on the one hand and improve the quality of the material gathered related to the crime, organize the interview in a child-friendly space, better plan future actions on the case on the other hand.
How do you plan to grow your innovation?
By (a) carrying out an assessment on national level of the current practices in the field of investigative interview on cases of child trafficking especially for and/or sexual exploitation and developing recommendations on their advancement considering international practices and standards; (b) continuous capacity building activities for the police on child-centered approach of investigations, interviewing techniques of victims of trafficking including children, promotion of replication of task-force approach for other police units; (c) creation and institutionalization of a “child advocacy room”, which will allow to conduct interviews, psychological sessions with the child in a adapted and safe place and reduce the number of meetings and persons dealing with the case and the child, the psychologist being a mediator of the contact between the police officer/lawyer/prosecutor and the child.
Do you have any existing partnerships, and if so, how do you create them?
With regard to this specific practice, a Memorandum of Understanding is signed with the Center for Combating Trafficking in Persons under the Ministry of Interior of Moldova. This document serves as a ground for joint/partnership approach to assisting trafficking cases including minors-victims of trafficking. A task force is created for every case as an immediate response to any signal of a trafficking/case of sexual exploitation of a child. In addition, cooperation is also extended to various service providers including social, medical, legal and other services.