14.26 Although children can give reliable accounts of events that they have witnessed, they should not be treated as miniature adults when they become involved in the legal process. Children face significant pressures from the moment they become involved in the legal process as witnesses, such as multiple inter-views and lengthy delays between the incident and trial. Investigatory and pre-hearing processes must be adjusted to the needs and capacities of the child to ensure that he or she can give the best evidence possible at the formal proceeding.
The initial interview of a child witness
14.27 Pre-trial investigations of cases involving children can require investigative interviews of potential child witnesses by police, social workers, court counsellors, doctors or lawyers. Some investigations involve interviews by a number of these professionals. For example, allegations of child abuse within the family can require investigation by family services department workers and police officers, health care providers and Family Court counsellors. The Inquiry received evidence that children in this situation are often subjected to multiple interviews over extended periods of time.
14.28 Multiple interviews are potentially harmful to the child required to recount traumatic events and to the reliability of that child’s evidence. Even when a repeatedly interviewed child is able to give accurate testimony, a belief that the child is giving over-rehearsed or contaminated evidence may diminish the child’s credibility in the eyes of the court. Multiple interviews may also diminish the child’s confidence and co-operation. In extreme cases, multiple interviews can amount to systems abuse.
14.29 We have also been told that, even where there is a single interviewer, the questioning can be lengthy and insensitive and can involve multiple interviews conducted by a person with little experience in dealing with children. Children’s evidence is important in many cases, particularly where the child’s evidence is the only or the most significant evidence of alleged abuse or mistreatment. Many of these cases are strenuously contested. The investigation of abuse must be conducted so as to support the child’s ability to give reliable accounts of the relevant events. The interests and the physical and emotional well-being of children must be protected during this process. All interviews of children who are potential witnesses should be conducted by people trained in questioning children, particularly when that questioning is likely to be about sensitive or traumatic subjects. In DRP 3, we proposed that national interview standards requiring this training be developed. Most submissions agreed.
14.30 Many submissions said that children should be allowed to have a support person of their choice present during any interviews, suggesting that a support person can safeguard the child from undue trauma during interviews. No Australian jurisdiction currently requires this, although many jurisdictions permit support persons at the discretion of the interviewing police officer or social worker. Some submissions and young people expressed concern, however, that children may be uncomfortable or unwilling to discuss sensitive issues in the presence of certain people, particularly their parents. Giving children the decision as to whether to have a support person present during some or all of the interview and the choice as to who that person should be could address this problem.
Recommendation 91 National interview standards should be developed and adopted for all interviews of potential child witnesses. These national standards should require that
all professionals responsible for investigating and interviewing potential child witnesses have appropriate training in child psychology and development, non-misleading questioning techniques and the rules of evidence for the various proceedings in which children may be involved
interviews with children be as short as possible and the number of interviews be kept to a minimum
every child who is being interviewed as a potential witness, whether as a victim of abuse, assault or other criminal act or as a witness to any relevant event or occurrence, has the right to have an independent person of his or her choice present while being interviewed.
Implementation. OFC should co-ordinate the development of the national interview standards in consultation with child advocacy organisations, police, legal aid commissions, family services departments and experts in investigative interviewing of children.
Specialist investigation teams
14.31 One way of limiting multiple interviews of child witnesses is to establish appropriately trained teams of investigative interviewers to investigate abuse cases and interview children who would otherwise have to tell their stories to a number of different people. These teams would be particularly helpful where children are the alleged victims of or witnesses to actions that may result in several proceedings, such as criminal charges, care and protection proceedings and Family Court applications.
14.32 Existing initiatives internationally and in Australia could serve as a starting point for the development of these teams. In Australia, most of the initiatives have focused on joint interview teams, consisting of a police officer and a family services department worker, or on protocols between these two agencies that detail information sharing and interviewing requirements.
14.33 For example, the Northern Territory Police and the Territory Health Service have developed a protocol for a co-ordinated response to child maltreatment allegations, involving the establishment of an investigating team of a police officer and a family services department worker. The protocol’s guidelines state that where the allegations concern both child protection and criminal matters the team should conduct a joint interview of the child whenever possible. The police officer has the primary responsibility for gaining evidence and the family services worker for providing a supporting or counselling role, although these roles should be determined on a case-by-case basis. This investigating team is also responsible for keeping the child and family informed about the actions proposed to be taken and for preparing the child for court should the child be required to give evidence.
14.34 In Queensland, Suspected Child Abuse and Neglect (SCAN) Teams consist of a family services department worker, a police officer, a medical representative and, if required, representatives from the Department of Education and Legal Aid. These teams co-ordinate the initial intervention in cases of alleged child maltreatment, including joint interviews of the child by the family services department worker and the police officer, and appoint a case manager to ensure that the legal requirements are met for all proceedings. Some of these teams are hospital-based and are limited to cases where the allegations are associated with medical intervention.
14.35 In 1994 NSW piloted the use of joint investigation teams (JIT) to interview child victims of sexual or physical abuse in two areas of the State. JIT include a family services department worker and a police officer, each of whom has been specially trained to deal with these cases. In April 1997 JIT were established in eight new localities. They handle only those cases where a criminal offence is alleged to have occurred. In August 1997 the Wood Royal Commission recommended that, in addition to these initiatives, NSW should trial an Expert Children’s Centre, modelled on the Child Advocacy Centre in Dallas, for team-based investigation of child abuse in a single location.
14.36 In Victoria, protocol arrangements between the family services department and the Victoria police allow joint interviews of children where there are reasonable grounds to believe that a child has been sexually assaulted or has incurred serious physical harm. However, co-ordination problems have been identified in the implementation of the protocols. In 1995 a Victorian parliamentary committee recommended the establishment of Sexual Assault Response Teams, comprising police, ‘protective advocate’ (family services department worker), legal counsel and medical and counselling services, all in a single location. It recommended that police and protective advocates have the primary responsibility for intervening to investigate allegations of child sexual assault and protect children, with the other team members having a secondary and supportive role. This system was essentially modelled on Stuart House, the Child Advocacy Centre in Santa Monica, California. This recommendation has not been implemented in Victoria.
14.37 The Inquiry was impressed by the concept of Child Advocacy Centres as established in many jurisdictions in the United States. These centres aim to develop a comprehensive, multidisciplinary response to child abuse, to prevent or reduce trauma to children caused by multiple contacts with professionals and courts and to provide services to child victims and their families. They consist of representatives from the District Attorney, police and family services department as the core response team that investigates allegations of child abuse. They also employ a director and often additional persons are involved as trial co-ordinators or witness advocates, counsellors, doctors or nurses and mental health professionals. Child Advocacy Centres provide a single, child-friendly location for interviews and evidence collection away from hospitals and police stations, with all agencies sharing information and providing support and assistance to the individual child. They also provide continuing counselling and support for children and their families and most conduct witness support programs for child witnesses. Most Child Advocacy Centres have specially designed interview rooms with video-recording capabilities. Where possible, all interviews of the child are conducted at the centre and video-taped. Any medical examinations may also take place at the centre, with the physical evidence retained by police in the usual manner.
14.38 Submissions to the Inquiry generally supported interview teams jointly investigating cases involving child abuse allegations. There was some concern, however, that team interviews could prove intimidating for children when the team included a number of people. Many of these submissions supported the method used in many Child Advocacy Centres, whereby a specially trained interviewer, employed by the centre, conducts the interview with the members of the investigation team behind a one-way mirror and able to communicate to this person the information required from the child.
Recommendation 92 Specialised interview teams comprising, as appropriate, a police officer and family services department worker or counsellor should deal with all allegations of child maltreatment in which multiple court proceedings are possible. These teams should have as their goal eliciting accurate and reliable information from children in a manner that allows the information to be used in a number of different proceedings (criminal, care and protection, family, civil etc). These teams should be modelled on the US Child Advocacy Centres.
Implementation. These Centres, or the appropriate interview teams, should be developed jointly by State and Territory police and family services departments, with the involvement of Victim’s Services/Support organisations and other relevant agencies. OFC should co-ordinate the development of national standards for the staffing, skills and interview methods of Child Advocacy Centres or joint interview teams, in consultation with child advocacy organisations, police, DPP offices, legal aid commissions, family services departments, health and hospitals departments and experts in the field of investigative interviews of children.
Video or audio taped interviews and children’s evidence
14.39 Video or audio taping of interviews with children by police or family services workers is undertaken in many jurisdictions in Australia. This can reduce the need to conduct further interviews with the child and can be used to inform family services department workers, police, counsellors, legal repre-sentatives and even expert witnesses of the substance of the child’s statements. In addition, taping is conclusive evidence of the manner in which the child was questioned and provides a better record of the interview than a written account. Where a child cannot read, the tape can be used before trial to refresh the child’s memory of his or her statement. A video-tape may also serve as the evidence of the child in a variety of legal forums, including in committal proceedings in criminal cases, reducing the need for the child to testify a number of times. Where there is a delay in bringing the case to trial, the video-tape can give a jury a more accurate understanding of the child at or near the time of the incident.
14.40 The Criminal Justice Act (1991) (England and Wales) allows video-recorded interviews with children to be used as the child’s evidence in chief in criminal prosecutions. An evaluation of 1199 trials involving a child witness from October 1992 to June 1994 has shown that in approximately 640 trials an application to show the video-taped interview was made and in 73% of these the application was granted. In 43% of the cases where the application was granted, that is, in 200 cases, the video was shown in court. There was no significant difference in jury verdicts between video-taped evidence and live examination in chief but children were much less anxious during the video-taped interviews than while giving live evidence at trial.
14.41 In Australia video-taped interviews of child witnesses are admissible in some legal proceedings in most States and Territories but most legislation provides that, in criminal proceedings, the child witness must be available for cross-examination in court. Cross-examination is the most traumatic part of the trial for child witnesses. Where the video-tape substitutes only for the evidence in chief, the child may not have been eased into the process of giving evidence through a relatively gentle direct examination. In addition, where there is a considerable time gap between the time of the video-taped interview and the cross-examination, the cross-examiner may be able to exploit any lapses in memory that have occurred during that period.
14.42 Another problem is deciding which interview, or how many, should be taped for presentation in court as the child’s evidence in chief. Children often do not disclose all relevant information at the initial interview or at any one interview. Recording only those interviews in which disclosures are made can imply a bias in the maker of the tapes. Questions also arise about the manner and procedure for recording, storing and producing the tapes and privacy issues for the children involved.
14.43 Many submissions to the Inquiry supported the recording of children’s interviews by video-tape but others raised problems with the technology and its use. For example, one problem concerns the performance expectations of children during these video-taped interviews.
[T]he expectation is that all of a sudden [the child] is in a room with somebody [s/he] doesn’t know, a child who might be 5, and he is expected to, without [preparation], tell us what happened. [The expectation is] that a child will talk about details of the most personal thing in their life right there in the next half hour or forget it…The child loses the right to have that other form of statement…[where] a police person may come in plain clothes into the child’s room, may build up a relationship…[instead] they get sent to a place they’ve never seen before, somebody they’ve never met before and are expected to do it off pat.
14.44 Notwithstanding the problems in using video-taped interviews as the child’s evidence in chief, there are real advantages to the video or audio taping of interviews with children. The Inquiry supports the continuation of pilot interview taping programs and their evaluation. Evaluations of these programs should include research on in-court and out-of-court uses for such taped interviews, the means of interviewing children on tape and the maintenance and storage of tapes. One suggestion worth particular consideration is that each of the child’s first and subsequent interviews should be video or audio taped and that video-taping a child’s statement for use as the child’s evidence be reserved for when the child is ready to make a full statement of the events.
Recommendation 93 A multidisciplinary working group on video and audio taping of interviews with child witnesses should be convened to
evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of various uses of taped interviews
develop protocols to be used by interview teams in taping, storing and maintaining the audio and video tapes
establish mechanisms to permit children to be further interviewed in relation to newly remembered details
propose evidentiary law reforms to allow the tapes to be used as evidence in court.
Implementation. The Attorney-General should recommend to SCAG that it convene such a multidisciplinary working group on taping interviews with child witnesses.
Video-taped pretrial hearings
14.45 Video-tape technology is also being used in other ways to reduce the traumas facing children who must give evidence in court. One option involves video-taping a child’s entire evidence, including direct and cross-examination, during a pretrial hearing, deposition or other proceeding held specifically for this purpose. This video-tape is then presented at the trial as the entire evidence of the child. Some jurisdictions are currently exploring this option.
14.46 For example, Western Australia’s Acts Amendment (Evidence of Children and Others) Act 1992 (WA) permits the video-recording of a child’s evidence in chief and cross-examination before trial. Fourteen children were scheduled to give their evidence in this manner in the past eight months. The provisions recognise that some children may still be required to appear at the trial for further questioning if deemed necessary, though this has rarely occurred. This process has particular advantages for child witnesses, including better controls over the arrangements to prevent the child coming into contact with the accused or family or supporters of the accused and as a means of capturing the child’s evidence closer to the event. It can also reduce the stress to a child witness by reducing the number of times he or she may come to court only to be told that the trial has been postponed. The video-tape could also be used in any retrials, rather than, or in addition to, having the child reappear to give evidence in the new trial.
14.47 Practitioners addressing the Inquiry were particularly interested in this system, seeing it as the future of children’s evidence. We recommend that all jurisdictions permit the video recording of the entire evidence of a child witness prior to the trial. Pretrial hearings for these purposes should be conducted whenever the interests of justice require, but particularly when the child may be at risk of prejudice or trauma due to lengthy delays.
Recommendation 94 Legislation should permit the entire evidence of a child, including evidence in chief and cross-examination, to be taken prior to trial and video-taped for presentation at trial whenever the interests of justice so require.
Implementation. The Evidence Act should be amended to reflect the above provision. The Attorney-General through SCAG should encourage all States and Territories to enact similar legislation. The provisions in the Acts Amendment (Evidence of Children and Others) Act 1992 (WA) are an appropriate model for this legislation.
14.48 Committal hearings are meant to provide a filter in the criminal justice system, ensuring that no-one stands trial unnecessarily. Persons are required to stand trial before a jury only when a magistrate finds that there is a prima facie case against the accused.
14.49 The committal also discloses to the accused the prosecution case, providing the opportunity to test the strength of the evidence of a prosecution witness, allowing a more informed decision whether to plead guilty and giving an advance view of the likely testimony at trial. Defence counsel often use the committal as a ‘dress rehearsal’ for the trial. The absence of a jury at committal can leave defence counsel free to pursue aggressive and intimidating tactics without concern about the effects these tactics may have on the jury’s perception of their treatment of child witnesses. In addition, many defence counsel seem to proceed on the basis that the more intimidating and terrifying the committal is for a child witness, the less likely it is that a child witness will be willing or able to give evidence at the trial.
14.50 Many Australian jurisdictions have attempted to address these problems by permitting or requiring paper committals, by limiting the types of offences for which witnesses may be called at committal and by permitting written or recorded statements of children to be used at committal instead of live evidence. However, children are still required to give evidence at committal hearings in some jurisdictions, whether because there is no legislative protection or because it is still common practice to require the attendance of child witnesses despite legislative provisions. The Inquiry heard extensive evidence that committal hearings were exceedingly traumatic for children.
My children, at the time of the [committal] were 12 and 14…when my 14 year old daughter was put up to be cross-examined, she was up for 5 hours…when cross-examining her [the defence counsel] accused her of doing this for gain of money. He told her that he thought she reacted like she did because she was sleeping around. Mind you, at the time of the assault, she was 9 years old…he told her he believed something happened, he then accused her father and said her father had really done it but she was blaming this man instead…in two sentences he ruined my daughter… She came out of court, she was sick, she could not stop vomiting.
I spent 3 days being examined and cross-examined [at the committal hearing] and the cross-examination was pretty brutal and the other people involved said it was one of the most brutal cross-examinations they’ve ever seen… I was prepared quite extensively for the committal hearing by the child care officer and a psychiatrist, but I do not think anything could have prepared me for what I went through. To this day I still tell Dr. H that if she ever asks me to recommend to a young girl to go on with the prosecution I would tell her to run south as fast as she can.
DRP 3 proposed that children no longer be required to give evidence in person at committal hearings. Many submissions to the Inquiry supported this recommendation.
Recommendation 95 Child witnesses should not give evidence in person at committal hearings. The rules of evidence should be amended to permit a child’s written or audio or video taped statement to be produced instead of the live evidence of the child.
Implementation. The Attorney-General through SCAG should encourage all States and Territories to enact similar legislation.
Consequences of pretrial delays
14.51 There are frequently lengthy delays before matters involving child witnesses are brought to trial. A recent NSW study found that for criminal matters the average time from charge to committal was six months and from committal to trial was about 11 months. Even where courts are required to give priority to criminal proceedings involving child victims, long delays are still common. In addition to backlogs, a case may be listed for hearing on a number of occasions. In NSW approximately 30% of cases involving child witnesses are not heard on the first listing.
14.52 Delays may be detrimental to children’s evidence, prompting children to refuse to give evidence or be less impressive in the witness box than they would otherwise be. In addition, as psychological research has shown, young children’s memories may be less reliable over long periods of time. All cases involving children as witnesses should be given priority in case listings and a fixed hearing date at which the child will give evidence. When delay cannot be avoided, measures such as the pre-recording of a child’s entire evidence prior to trial should be arranged.
Recommendation 96 When setting hearing dates, courts should give priority to cases involving child witnesses and set a fixed date for the evidence of the child. The prosecutor or legal representative for a party calling a child as a witness should be required to inform the court that a child is scheduled to appear so that the court can set an early pre-trial hearing for the video recording of the child’s evidence or so that it can prioritise the matter and set the trial for a specified time rather than allocating it to a rolling list.
Implementation. The State and Territory courts, along with the federal courts, should amend their Rules and listing practices to this effect.
14.53 Delays often hamper attempts to treat children who give evidence of child abuse or other traumatic experiences. Victims of child abuse or witnesses to other traumatic events often need professional therapeutic counselling. However, it is argued that therapeutic counselling may contaminate a child’s evidence and provide an opening for extensive cross-examination by defence counsel. Therapy is frequently postponed until after the trial to avoid accusations that the child’s evidence has been contaminated. The longer the delay between the abuse and the trial, the longer the waiting time for these children who may need professional counselling.
14.54 Many submissions to the Inquiry favoured children accessing counselling when they need it rather than when the trial dictates. Several submissions were concerned, however, about trial results and cross-examination in these circum-stances. The Inquiry considers that, consistent with CROC, the child’s best interests should be paramount rather than ‘winning’ the trial at the expense of the child’s mental health.
14.55 One solution adopted in many overseas jurisdictions is to confer a privilege on communications made for the purposes of therapeutic counselling, in recog-nition of the desirability of encouraging people with emotional, behavioral and psychological problems to seek assistance. NSW has recently circulated a draft bill that provides a privilege for communications made by an alleged victim of sexual assault to a sexual assault counsellor. Evidence of the communications is not to be adduced in court unless the court gives leave. The court must not give leave unless the evidence has substantial probative value, other evidence of the matters in the communication is not available and the public interest in protecting the confidentiality of the communications or in protecting the alleged victim from harm is substantially outweighed by the public interest in admitting the evidence. Should the court give leave to adduce the evidence, the court may make ancillary orders to limit the possible harm or the extent of the harm to the alleged victim.
14.56 Critics of a legal privilege for these communications argue that it ‘…deprives the judicial proceedings of information which would be relevant to the determination of the issues’. However, the NSW approach permits the judge to determine the relevance and admissibility of this evidence. The legislation is not a panacea, but it does help to protect and provide counselling options for children who all too often have a real and pressing need for these services. The NSW option, when combined with early video-taping of children’s evidence, can help to ameliorate some of the mischief caused to children by trial delays.
Recommendation 97 A legal privilege should be conferred on all com-munications between children and counsellors for therapeutic purposes.
Evidence of the communications should only be able to be adduced in court where the court gives leave.
The court should not be able to give leave unless the evidence has substantial probative value, other evidence of the matters in the communication is not available and the public interest in protecting the confidentiality of the communications or in protecting the alleged victim from harm is substantially outweighed by the public interest in admitting the evidence.
Implementation. TheEvidence Act should be amended to reflect the above provisions. The Attorney-General through SCAG should encourage all States and Territories to enact similar legislation. The Evidence Amendment (Confidential Communications) Bill 1997 (NSW) is an appropriate model for this legislation.
 See also G Goodman et al ‘Children’s concerns & memory: Issues of ecological validity in the study of children’s eyewitness testimony’ in R Fivush & J Hudson (eds) Knowing and Remembering in Young Children Cambridge University Press Cambridge 1990, 249; G Davies et al ‘Close encounters of the witness kind: Children’s memory for a simulated health inspection’ (1989) 80 British Journal of Psychology 415,425; MA King & J Yuille ‘Suggestibility and the child witness’ in J Ceci et al (eds) Children’s Eyewitness Memory Springer-Verlag New York 1987, 24.
 eg I Wallace IP Submission 85; Barwon Adolescent Taskforce IP Submission 188.
 Vic Police IP Submission 45. See also D Elder ‘Investigation and prosecution of child sexual abuse’ (1991) 19 Western State University Law Review 283.
 See para 17.9-6.
 eg I Wallace IP Submission 85; Youth Advocacy Centre IP Submission 120.
 Draft rec 5.2.
 eg SA Independent Schools Board DRP Submission 31; Victims Rights & Civil Rights Project DRP Submission 33; Kreative Kids DRP Submission 35; Autistic Association of NSW DRP Submission 40; Education Centre Against Violence DRP Submission 43; Townsville Community Legal Service DRP Submission 46; Qld Police Service DRP Submission 56; National Children’s and Youth Law Centre DRP Submission 59; Geelong Rape Crisis Centre DRP Submission 61; AFP DRP Submission 66; NT Government DRP Submission 71; Federation of Community Legal Centres (Vic) DRP Submission 72; WA Ministry of Justice DRP Submission 73; NSW Government DRP Submission 86; Law Society of WA DRP Submission 88.
 eg G Vimpani IP Submission 31; Ethnic Communities Council of Tas IP Submission 67; H Taylor Qld DPP IP Submission 102; Children’s Protection Society IP Submission 108; L Gunwan IP Submission 135; Barwon Adolescent Taskforce IP Submission 188; Oz Child Legal Service IP Submission 195.
 eg Protocol between Territory Health Services and Northern Territory Police: Guidelines and Procedures for a Co-ordinated Response to Child Maltreatment in the NT Territory Health Services and NT Police Darwin 1995; Crimes Act 1958 (Vic) s 464 9(e). Only the ACT formally requires all child witnesses to be interviewed in the presence of an adult, usually their parent. However, where a parent is suspected of involvement in the alleged offence or of exerting undue influence over the child, or is unavailable or unwilling to be present, an independent adult is appointed. This person will not necessarily be known to the child and is usually a government social worker, school teacher or counsellor or a person from the office of the Community Advocate: ACT Attorney General IP Submission 194.
 eg J Evans IP Submission 59; J Benfer, E Drew & K Shepherd IP Submission 119; Law Institute of Vic, Children & Youth Issues Committee IP Submission 173; WA Ministry of Justice DRP Submission 73; Kreative Kids DRP Submission 35; Tranby College Focus Group 10 June 1997; Hobart Focus Group 30 May 1996.
 Protocol between Territory Health Services and Northern Territory Police: Guidelines and Procedures for a Co-ordinated Response to Child Maltreatment in the NT Territory Health Services and NT Police Darwin 1995.
 NSW Child Protection Council ‘Joint Investigation Teams update’ (1997) 18 NSW Child Protection Council News 2.
 NSW Government DRP Submission 86.
 Wood Royal Commission Final Report Vol IV: The Paedophile Inquiry NSW Government Sydney 1997, 948.
 Vic Auditor-General’s Office Protecting Victoria’s Children: The Role of the Department of Human Services Vic Government Printer Melbourne 1996, 172.
 id 173–178.
 Vic Parliament Crime Prevention Committee Combatting Child Sexual Assault: An Integrated Model Vic Government Printer Melbourne 1995, 132.
 Vic Auditor-General’s Office Protecting Victoria’s Children: The Role of the Department of Human Services Vic Government Printer Melbourne 1996, 190.
 A Anderson & M McMaken ‘Implementing child advocacy: A rationale and a basic blueprint’ (1991) 41 Juvenile and Family Court Journal 1, 3–5; Letter from C Wilson, Director National Children’s Advocacy Centre USA 3 June 1997.
 ibid. See paras 14.53, 14.95-100 for a discussion of the benefits of counselling and witness support.
 A Anderson & M McMaken ‘Implementing child advocacy: A rationale and a basic blueprint’ (1991) 41 Juvenile and Family Court Journal 1, 3–5; Letter from C Wilson, Director National Children’s Advocacy Centre USA 3 June 1997.
 eg Children’s Protection Society IP Submission 108; J Benfer, E Drew & K Shepherd IP Submission 119; Liverpool Sexual Assault Service IP Submission 145; S Castell-McGregor IP Submission 152; AFP DRP Submission 66; WA Ministry of Justice DRP Submission 73; Federation of Community Legal Centres (Vic) DRP Submission 72.
 eg LA Beards, DRP Submission 6; P Eastaugh DRP Submission 29; National Legal Aid DRP Submission 58; National Children’s and Youth Law Centre DRP Submission 59; AFP DRP Submission 66.
 eg Oz Child Legal Service IP Submission 195; Woden Valley Hospital, Child At Risk Assessment Unit IP Submission 196; P Eastaugh DRP Submission 29; AFP DRP Submission 66.
 eg the Video and Audio Taped Evidence Project in Victoria envisions interviews of children conducted by police being taped and presented in magistrates’ and children’s courts as the child’s evidence in chief, as well as being used in the Family Court and the Crimes Compensation Tribunal: Vic Police IP Submission 45. A similar program operates in Qld: Wood Royal Commission Final Report Volume V: The Paedophile Inquiry NSW Government Sydney 1997, 1093.
 eg Confidential IP Submission 93; H Taylor, DPP Qld IP Submission 102; J Benfer, E Drew & K Shepherd IP Submission 119.
 M Bruck & S Ceci ‘My child would never say that: The accuracy of mothers’ memories of conversations with their preschool children’ Paper Emmet Francoeur Montreal Children’s Hospital Conference Montreal 6 April 1997, 30–33.
 H Elias & K McFarlane ‘Legal and clinical issues in videotaping’ in K Murray & D Gough (eds) Intervening in Child Sexual Abuse Scottish Academic Press Edinburgh 1991, 130.
 The British Home Office has developed guidelines for the interview and its recording: Memorandum of Good Practice Home Office London 1992.
 A Kapardis Psychology and Law Cambridge University Press Cambridge 1997, 99.
 eg Acts Amendment (Evidence of Children and Others) Act 1992(WA) s 106H; Evidence Amendment (Children and Special Witnesses) Act 1995 (Tas)s 122F; Evidence Act (Amendment) Act 1988(SA) s 6; Evidence Act 1977 (Qld) s 93A; Evidence Act 1958(Vic) s 37B.
 See paras 14.110-111.
 H Elias & K McFarlane ‘Legal and clinical issues in videotaping’ in K Murray & D Gough (eds) Intervening in Child Sexual Abuse Scottish Academic Press Edinburgh 1991, 132.
 id 132–134.
 D Whitcomb ‘When the victim is a child: Past hope, current reality and future promise of legal reform in the United States of America’ in J Spencer et al (eds) Children’s Evidence in Legal Proceedings: An International Perspective — Papers from the International Conference on Children’s Evidence Cambridge 26–28 June 1989 J Spencer Kent 1989, 144.
 eg Children’s Protection Society IP Submission 108; M Forrester IP Submission 116.
 eg L Gunawan IP Submission 135; Geelong Rape Crisis CentreIP Submission 151; S Castell-McGregor IP Submission 152.
 N Donkers, Geelong Rape Crisis Centre Public Hearing Submission Melbourne 29 May 1996.
 This suggestion was made by J Cashmore Speech National DPP Victim Services Seminar Sydney 3 July 1997.
 s 106I(1). Evidence Act 1977 (Qld) s 21A also seems to provide for this option, although it does not seem to have been used at all.
 Information on the use of this provision was provided orally by S Butler, Perth Law Courts Listings Manager 20 August 1997.
 s 106K(5).
 See paras 14.117-118 for a discussion of these problems. The CCTV room in the Perth Central Courts, from which all children give evidence during these pretrial hearings, is located in the same area of the courthouse as the Child Victim Witness Service, and has a separate entrance. As a result, it is possible to avoid any chance encounters between the child and the accused.
 See paras 14.20, 14.52 for a discussion of the problems caused by delays.
 eg Children’s Protection Society IP Submission 108; Brisbane Practitioners’ Forum 29 July 1996.
 D Bereton & J Willis ‘Evaluating the committal’ in J Vernon (ed) The Future of Committals: Proceedings of a Conference Held 1–2 May 1990 AIC Canberra 1991, 8.
 The witnesses’ answers also provide ammunition for the defence at trial, should the answers at trial differ to any extent, however trivial, from those at committal: J Johnson ‘A case for abolition’ in J Vernon (ed) The Future of Committals: Proceedings of a Conference Held 1–2 May 1990 AIC Canberra 1991, 92.
 D Bereton & J Willis ‘Evaluating the committal’ in J Vernon (ed) The Future of Committals: Proceedings of a Conference Held 1–2 May 1990 AIC Canberra 1991, 17.
 id 18.
 Defence counsel may use the committal to get an advance view of a witness’ answers to certain questions, find out the ‘buttons’ that can be pushed to a witness’ detriment and determine which questions get the answers most helpful to the defence case: J Johnson ‘A case for abolition’ in J Vernon (ed) The Future of Committals: Proceedings of a Conference Held 1–2 May 1990 AIC Canberra 1991, 92. A minority view of this process is that it actually ‘prepares’ the witness for trial: see M Weinberg ‘A prosecution perspective’ in J Vernon (ed) The Future of Committals: Proceedings of a Conference Held 1–2 May 1990 AIC Canberra 1991, 141. Yet one commentator suggested that this belief is like ‘suggesting that one should attend one’s dentist to have a tooth extracted some months prior to the extraction proper’: A Paterson ‘The future of committals: The victim/witness point of view’ in J Vernon (ed) The Future of Committals: Proceedings of a Conference Held 1–2 May 1990 AIC Canberra 1991,137.
 J Johnson ‘A case for abolition’ in J Vernon (ed) The Future of Committals: Proceedings of a Conference Held 1–2 May 1990 AIC Canberra 1991, 92.
 eg the Magistrates’ Court Act 1989 (Vic)provides for paper committals (in the form of hand-up briefs) and permits the calling of a witness to give oral evidence only when the defendant gives the required notice that the attendance of a witness is requested. The court, on its own motion or on application of the informant, may disallow the attendance of a witness where it is satisfied that it would be frivolous, vexatious or oppressive in all circumstances to require the witness to attend the committal proceeding: Sch 5, ss 2, 3.
 eg the Justices Act 1902 (NSW)provides for paper committals and states that although the accused may apply for the personal appearance of a witness at the committal hearing, where the alleged offence ‘involves violence’ and the witness is the alleged victim, the Magistrate should not direct the witness to appear unless there are special reasons why the alleged victim should attend the proceedings to give oral evidence: s 48EA.
 eg Justices Act 1921 (SA) s 106: where the witness at a committal hearing is a child, the witness’ statement may be in the form of a written statement taken down by a member of the police force at an interview with the child and verified by affidavit of the police officer as an accurate record of the child’s oral statements or in the form of a video-taped record of the interview accompanied by an affidavit of the police officer who was present at the interview that it is a complete record of the interview. However, where the written or video-taped statement is accepted in evidence and the defendant has notified the prosecution 7 days in advance that she or he seeks the personal attendance of the child witness or if the judicial officer is satisfied that there is good reason for excusing the failure to give notice, the witness must appear for oral examination. If the witness was the victim of alleged sexual offences, the witness need not appear unless the judicial officer is satisfied that there are special reasons for the oral examination of the alleged victim. See also Justices Act 1902 (WA) s 69 (2a).
 eg the Magistrates’ Court Act 1930 (ACT) seems to actually require the presence of child witnesses at committals, as written statements are not admissible in evidence at committals where the statement is made by a child under the age of 14: s 90AA.
 eg in Qld, as a general rule witnesses are required to give evidence in person at committals, although the Justices Act 1886 permits the admission into evidence of written statements by witnesses. These written statements are only admitted if the prosecution and defence agree to their admission: Qld Criminal Justice Commission Evaluation of Brisbane Central Committals Project Qld Criminal Justice Commission Brisbane 1996, 9. Children Protection Society IP Submission 108 stated that despite the paper committal procedures in Vic, it is still common practice that most children are required to give evidence at committals.
 See I Wallace IP Submission 85; Confidential Public Hearing Submission Canberra 7 May 1996; N Donkers, Geelong Rape Crisis Centre Public Hearing Submission Melbourne 29 May 1996; C Emmerson Public Hearing Submission Brisbane 31 July 1996.
 Confidential Public Hearing Submission Melbourne 29 May 1996.
 Confidential Public Hearing Submission Brisbane 31 July 1996.
 Draft rec 5.5.
 Kreative Kids DRP Submission 35; Autistic Association of NSW DRP Submission 40; Education Centre Against Violence DRP Submission 43; Townsville Community Legal Service DRP Submission 46; Qld Police Service DRP Submission 56; AFP DRP Submission 66; NT Government DRP Submission 71; Federation of Community Legal Centres (Vic) DRP Submission 72; WA Ministry of Justice DRP Submission 73; NSW Government DRP Submission 86.
 J Cashmore The Evidence of Children Judicial Commission of NSW Sydney 1995, 56–57.
 eg in Qld once a sexual assault matter has been committed for trial, if the offender is in custody or the victim is a child, the matter is given a number one listing in the courts in an attempt to ensure that the least possible delay is experienced by the parties. However, in practice, backlogs mean that children still wait six months before the case in which they are a witness is heard. This six month delay is above and beyond the delays already experienced as a consequence of the police investigation and the committal process: H Taylor, DPP Qld IP Submission 102.
 J Cashmore The Evidence of Children Judicial Commission of NSW Sydney 1995, 57.
 See para 14.20.
 See rec 94.
 H Taylor, DPP Qld IP Submission 102.
 For a discussion of the arguments against pretrial counselling see A Cossins & R Pilkinton ‘Balancing the scales: The case for the inadmissibility of counselling records’ (1996) 19(2) University of NSW Law Journal 227.
 H Taylor, DPP Qld IP Submission 102; Children’s Welfare Association of Vic IP Submission 138; ACT Attorney-General IP Submission 194.
 H Taylor, DPP Qld IP Submission 102; Children Protection Society IP Submission 108; J Benfer, E Drew & K Shepherd IP Submission 119; S Castell-McGregor IP Submission 152; SA Victim Support Service IP Submission 185.
 NSW Health Care Complaints Commission IP Submission 182; ACT Attorney-General IP Submission 194.
 eg NY Criminal Procedure Law s 60.76 (rape crisis counsellor-client privilege). This provision provides for in camera review of counselling records upon the application of the accused, where the accused feels that disclosure of such records is necessary ‘under the constitutions of the United States or of New York’. Even more expansive privileges are conferred in civil cases: NY Civil Practice Law and Rules ss 4507 (psychologist-patient privilege), 4508 (social worker-client privilege), 4510 (rape crisis counsellor-client privilege). These privileges are, however, not applicable in care and protection proceedings: NY Family Court Act s 1046.
 Evidence Amendment (Confidential Communications) Bill 1997 (NSW). This bill has been criticised however. The discretion given to judges to allow evidence of confidential communications might provide little protection for child victim witnesses, as history shows that judges give great weight to an accused’s right to adduce all relevant evidence. There is also a risk that stereotypes and myths about children, particularly where the allegations involve sexual assault, will affect the exercise of the discretion by judges and magistrates. In addition, no guarantee of confidentiality can be given to the alleged victim at the time of counselling as there is no way of predicting the circumstances in which the discretion will be exercised: A Cossins ‘Contempt or confidentiality?’ (1996) 21 Alternative Law Journal 223, 224–225.
 Evidence Amendment (Confidential Communications) Bill 1997, Div 1B cl 126H.
 Evidence Amendment (Confidential Communications) Bill 1997 (NSW) Div 1B cl 126K.
 Law Reform Commission of WA Report 90 Report on Professional Privilege for Confidential Communications Law Reform Commission of WA Perth 1993, 40–41.