The Independent Commission on Child Abuse and Sexual Violence (CIIVISE) is hosting a meeting in Rouen this Tuesday, June 14, from 5 p.m., in the auditorium of the Museum of Fine Arts. Edward Durand, magistrate and vice-chairman of the commission, answered France Blue Normandy’s question.
Edward Durand, what is the purpose of this meeting?
A gathering place for all people who have been victims of sexual violence in childhood, who can come if they wish, listen to others and speak for themselves if they wish. It is a gathering place with the whole society, because it is a public meeting. Every time, professional, committed people, associations also come. It is a moment of solidarity and recognition. All people are welcome.
This is the seventh trip of your commission. The testimonies that you have gathered, in previous meetings, what are the facts, the words that often come up?
There is anger and hope in every person who testifies. In six months, we’ve received over 12,000 testimonials. And every time, everyone says: “I testify for myself and so that the children do not experience my experience. “ And then what we hear is the pain of facing sexual violence, the pain associated with acquittal of attackers, and a great desire for change. We must hear this word, it is given. This term itself is valid.
Your work started a year ago and will continue until next year. At the end of March, you released an interim conclusion. Among them, you say that justice must be “at the height of the child” once sexual violence is identified. What does that mean, concretely?
This means that a child faces sexual violence, then carries the need for justice at the level of a child within him or her with criminal activity. This means that we, social work, justice, lawyers, magistrates and other professionals must implement our professional strategies so that children understand what is happening. This means that there are protocols for interviewing child victims that respect their words, allowing them to be heard without prejudice. This means that a criminal trial is not a desert where all shots are allowed. When a child, even 40 years after the incident, if he or she becomes an adult, enters the hearing room of an Assassin’s Creed, he or she must be able to feel safe. This is justice at the height of a child.
The Defender of Rights regrets, and I quote, the “very short investigation” of this kind of case, the trial times are too long. What is the answer?
We agree with the rights defender we have recently met.
How to go fast?
It must first be understood that when a child expresses violence, if he is not protected immediately, he loses confidence in the adult world. We need to look for the words of the child victim: this is called systematic identification. Ask all the kids questions: Has anyone ever hurt you? And if the child expresses violence, especially sexual violence or incest, he must be kept safe, so that he can grow up, so that he can sleep, so that he can learn, and be told that he can be a woman or a man. To be. This is the first thing. And then, secondly, it means explaining to him the progress of a criminal investigation, that is, allowing him to understand a schedule.
Do you think a child can understand this?
Yes, of course. I have worked as a children’s judge for almost 20 years. I work with children, and so you need to be able to speak in a way that allows the child to understand what is being said to him in childhood. Children are serious people, and children who have been raped, or sexually abused and subsequently subjected to extreme suffering, need adults to explain what is happening to them.