Untrained child safety staff 'tainted interview'
BY: ROSANNE BARRETT From: The Australian
October 17, 2012 12:00AM
UNTRAINED child safety officers botched an investigation into the abuse of a young girl - later stabbed by her father - when they used inappropriate interview techniques, Queensland's Child Protection Inquiry has heard.
Mount Isa police Child Protection Investigation Unit officer Kelly Harvey said a girl from a remote community had reported being burned on the forehead by her father in 2006.
Before she could be interviewed by police, child safety officers tainted an interview with the girl by suggesting information to her. "The practitioner actually said to the child, well, that was by accident, wasn't it," Detective Senior-Sergeant Harvey told the Mount Isa public hearing.
"It changed how Child Safety would deal with it. Obviously, we couldn't then use that information in a criminal proceeding. Two weeks later, the child was burned again and stabbed."
Sergeant Harvey said police received training on interviewing children and recording evidence, but the same course for child safety officers was not readily utilised.
Public hearings will continue in Mount Isa today.