For children and young people, attending a proofing meeting at the ODPP can be a stressful and overwhelming experience.
At the ODPP, there is a child-friendly waiting area and meeting room, with toys and activities for your child during any waiting periods.
We strongly recommend that a parent, caregiver or support person attends with your child.
What to tell your child beforehand
It’s important to tell your child about the meeting and why it is taking place - this will help reduce any hesitation or anxiety they may experience.
You should explain to your child:
- why the ODPP is meeting with them and who they will meet
- where the meeting will happen and how long it should take
- they won’t be pressured to talk about anything that makes them feel uncomfortable
- there will be a special support person there whose job it is to look after them and make sure they’re okay
- the meeting will be guided by how they are feeling
- they are not in trouble
- their wellbeing is the most important thing.
Establishing a good relationship with both you and your child is important to help the ongoing interactions with our office.
What your child will be asked
To try and get a sense of how comfortable your child is talking to adults, they will likely be asked questions about school, their hobbies and activities in the first part of the meeting.
Specialist Witness Assistance Officers use child-friendly language and will talk with your child in a warm, friendly and non-threatening way.
Your child will not be required to talk about what has happened to them the first time they meet with us – but if we do need to do this, we will discuss this with both you and your child.
Information for us
It’s important for us to be aware of anything impacting on the health or wellbeing of your child before the meeting. This includes:
- a physical or intellectual disability
- a learning or communication issue
- any mental health issues
- anxiety about attending the meeting
- if they do not want to proceed with the matter
- if they are demonstrating unusual behaviours
- any other matters you believe might be important.
Contact us ahead of your proofing meeting to discuss any of these issues.
Child care for other children
Children and infants not involved in the case should not be present during proofing meetings.
Unfortunately, the ODPP cannot provide child care during the meeting, so it’s important to make the necessary arrangements prior to the proofing meeting.
This might mean making alternative child care arrangements.