A special unit was established in August 2004 within the Attorney General’s Department to handle child abuse cases, keeping in par with the government’s commitment towards enhancing child protection measures. The said Unit was established upon the approval of a proposal tabled before the Cabinet by the then Minister of Justice.
In September 2011, a special project titled ‘National Project for the expeditious processing and passage of cases of child abuse by the criminal justice system of Sri Lanka and for the prevention of secondary victimization of victims of child abuse’ was launched. Since then the Attorney General’s Department, Ministry of Justice, Department of Police and Ministry of Health work together as partners of this joint project, with the assistance of UNICEF.
Under this project a mechanism was established to closely supervise investigations pertaining to child abuse cases. Accordingly, the Officer In-Charge of a Police Station to which a case of child abuse is reported, is required to submit a Report on the said incident to the relevant Supervising Officer of the Attorney General’s Department, overlooking the respective judicial zone, within 24 hours. Police is required to conclude investigations as well as the Judicial Medical Officer who examines the child victim is required to submit the detailed Medico-Legal Report within three weeks of the date of first complaint. The Officer In-Charge of the relevant Police Station is required to submit the pertaining Police Information Book extracts and other material for advice, to the Attorney General’s Department within a week therefrom. The officers of this Unit will examine the material so received and conclude action promptly.
At present twenty seven Attorneys-at-Law serve in the Child Protection Unit under the supervision of senior officers of the Attorney General’s Department holding the rank of Senior State Counsel or above, overlooking one or several judicial zones.