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Human Trafficking and Exploitation (Criminal Justice and Support for Victims) Act (Northern Ireland) 2015

Section 23: Protection of slavery and trafficking victims in criminal investigations

Section 23 makes provision aimed at ensuring greater protections for victims of slavery-like offences and human trafficking during police interviews in the course of criminal investigations.

Subsection (1)(a) places an duty on the Chief Constable to ensure that, during the investigation of a human trafficking or slavery-like offence, the complainant receives specific treatment aimed at preventing secondary victimisation by avoiding, so far as possible:

  • unnecessary repetition of interviews;

  • visual contact between the complainant and the accused, using appropriate means including communication technology;

  • unnecessary questioning concerning the complainant’s private life.

Subsection (1)(b) makes separate provision in respect of the additional where the complainant is a child.  These include a duty on the Chief Constable to ensure that:

  • interviews with the complainant take place without unjustified delay;

  • interviews take place, where necessary, in premises designed or adapted for the purpose;

  • interviews with the complainant are carried out by or through persons trained for the purpose;

  • if possible and where appropriate, the same persons conduct all the interviews with the complainant;

  • the number of interviews with the complainant is as limited as possible and interviews are carried out only where strictly necessary for the purposes of the investigation;

  • the complainant may be accompanied by an adult of the complainant’s choice (unless the police officer in charge takes a reasoned decision to the contrary).

Subsection (2) defines what is meant by the words “the accused” and “complainant”.

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