EULEX and FBI Tackling Sexual Abuse and Domestic Violence in Kosovo

26 January 2018

In line with the incentive to strengthen Kosovo’s investigations and prosecution of sexual abuse and domestic violence crimes, EULEX, Kosovo Police, and the United States Embassy have this week organised a specialised training in forensic interviewing techniques.

Around fifty Kosovo police investigators are attending the training, specifically designed for them to get a deeper understanding of how physical, sexual and emotional abuse impacts individuals and how this may be expressed when they are interviewed.  

According to Lt. Colonel Akrem Racaj, KP Director of the Specialised and Advanced Training Unit in the Police Academy, there is a genuine need for the investigators to get a better insight of the always changing dynamics of investigating such cases in Kosovo.  “We need to do more to be able to help the victims of sexual abuse and domestic violence. We ought to improve the overall role of the police officers and investigators working on these cases”, he continued.

The training is being delivered by Ms. Jodie Hively and Ms. Karen Blackwell, Child/Adolescent Forensic Interviewers from the U.S. Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation, FBI.

The trainers have shared their skills on forensic interviewing techniques for adults and in particular for child victims. In addition, training is provided for case management and follow-up techniques when treating various cases of sexual abuse and domestic violence, especially when the victims are children.

Karen Blackwell, one of the FBI trainers involved, explains that interviewing children and adolescents can be very difficult because of a variety of issues such as: how they speak, their level of development and understanding of this process and because of the emotional part of their traumatic experiences. As part of the training, the FBI will therefore share a curriculum that focuses on special forensic investigative techniques.

“We are here to teach Kosovo Police how to conduct an interview in order to get the best information out of the kids and adolescents. We go all over the world to teach these interviewing techniques. We know that people in Kosovo care very much about their children and they want to make sure that KP are conducting the best interview techniques to solve cases of such sensitive nature. We are here to support them in this process”, concludes Blackwell.

Cindy Syes, EULEX Gender Based Violence Advisor to Kosovo Police explains why the programme is so important for Kosovo. “I have travelled throughout Kosovo and everywhere the investigators stated that with the changing dynamics of sexual abuse and domestic violence investigations, more specialised training was needed. Advancing the techniques can help securing evidence necessary to bring justice for the victims of domestic and sexual based violence”.