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Victoria Police amend the Code of Practice around the use of interpreters

Recommendation:
159
Status:
Implemented

Who is leading the change

  • Victoria Police

Victoria Police:

  • amend the Code of Practice for the Investigation of Family Violence to emphasise the risks associated with using children as interpreters and using the same interpreter for both perpetrator and victim, as well as to provide practical guidance to officers on the use of interpreters
  • provide training at all appropriate levels on the amended Code of Practice requirements relating to interpreters
  • The Victoria Police Code of Practice for the Investigation of Family Violence has been amended to improve guidance on the appropriate use of interpreters for culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities. It also highlights the risks associated with using children and family members as interpreters, and using the same interpreter for both perpetrator and victim.

    Police are educated on the use of interpreters through Foundation Training programs for new police recruits. In addition, this guidance material will be embedded in family violence education programs developed by Victoria Police’s Centre of Learning for Family Violence.

  • The Royal Commission made a number of recommendations to improve guidance for police in the Code of Practice on a number of topics. To implement these recommendations new practice notes on a range of specific topics have been included in the Code of Practice.

    The ‘Obtaining an interpreter for members of CALD communities’ practice note has been developed to implement this recommendation. This practice note informs police:

    • That a professional interpreter service provider must be engaged whenever interpreting services are required to ensure an accurate and unbiased account is provided to police
    • Of the risk of emotional trauma on children or people known to the affected family member (AFM) who are exposed to the details of the family violence incident when acting as an interpreter
    • Of the possibility of that a family member or a person known to the AFM may be hesitant to relate certain information for fear of incriminating a participant, omit critical information or their interpretation may be biased
    • That all reasonable steps must be taken to ensure that the professional interpreter is not associated with the victim or their immediate cultural community

    The amended Code of Practice incorporating this practice note has been published to the Victoria Police website.

    Education about the appropriate use of interpreters is currently provided during Foundation Training for new recruits. This training will be enhanced through the development of new education programs by the Victoria Police Centre of Learning for Family Violence.

  • Implemented.

Reviewed 17 May 2020

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