The National Council for Family Affairs announced that guided by HM Queen Rania's directives (Chair of NCFA's Board of Trustees), it has signed an agreement to operationalize the Close-Circuit Television (CCTV) System and ensure the commitment of relevant bodies to its use during testimony hearings of children who are victims of family abuse.
The testimony aims at protecting the children, mitigating the psychological impacts of the abuse and ensuring that the testimonies are given in a safe and comfortable court area isolated from the perpetrator.
The technology enables the perpetrator and his representing lawyer to hear the child's testimony and to cross-examine him/her before the court, the plaintiff and his/her lawyer.
The agreement was signed by the Jordanian Judicial Council, Ministry of Justice, Public Security Directorate and NCFA, and was supported by UNICEF and UNHCR.
The signing is in line with the efforts exerted by National Team for the Protection against Family Violence (works under the umbrella of NCFA) to achieve the best interests of the children be they victims of family abuse or witnesses to other cases of similar context.
Jordan has been one of the pioneers of devising a specialized legal provision to protect children during court hearing procedures. As such, Article 158 of the Criminal Procedures Law was amended making the use of this technology mandatory during the hearing of victims of indecent assaults -unless it is not possible- and permissive in all other cases. The law has also allowed the public prosecutor or the court to use the new technology during investigation and trial proceedings including prosecuting the inmate away from the rehabilitation center where he is detained, but at the same time has ordered that all tools used during investigation including all data storing devices such as CDs or DVDs should be preserved to maintain confidentiality and the privacy of the witness or the inmate.
Under the agreement, the use of this technology will be operationalized by creating conditions and an atmosphere conducive to its use within courts and by increasing the awareness of workers in the field of criminal justice and the public in general on the importance of using this technology.
Work will also be done to create suitable CCTV special rooms within courts buildings, to be later on rolled out to all Juvenile courts and Magistrate's courts in future.