UK officers are on the ground to conduct an extensive audit of all open child abuse cases in Cayman.
The news of this review comes on the heels of grave concerns voiced by a Grand Court judge last September about inexcusable delays in a police investigation into child sexual abuse allegations made in 2012.
The outside assistance was sought after an audit found a number of cases require further investigation and identified critical risks in resources, as well as the increasing workload of the Family Support Unit.
Cases currently assigned to the FSU will be assessed and completed in as timely a manner as possible. Where appropriate, cases will be referred to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.
The audit will also look at police policies and procedures and advise on best practices.
Police Commissioner Derek Byrne says clearly fundamental changes are needed. “The officers must respond to the changing needs of the islands with proper support for child abuse investigations going forward, which are among the most sensitive and difficult for any police service,” he said.
Mr. Byrne says the UK officers also have extensive experience in working in MASH units in the UK, and will be able to lend their expertise in cross-agency collaboration and safeguarding procedures as a MASH Unit is established in the Cayman Islands. The Unit is intended to bring together all relevant agencies to ensure proper management of cases and policy across government, in coordination with the Cayman Islands Child Safeguarding Board. Joint operations between the RCIPS, FSU, DCFS and HSA Counselling Services are set to begin later this month.
“Having these structures in place will enable faster progress toward a strong child protection regime through timelier interventions, and overall, greater prevention of child abuse and the lifelong damage caused by it,” added CoP Byrne, “this is our ultimate goal.”
The review is expected to last three months.