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Reference:

Methodology of Investigation of Crimes Committed Against Minors

Filimonov Arkadii Dmitrievich

ORCID: 0009-0008-2359-1989

Student, Irkutsk Law Institute (branch) University of the Prosecutor's Office of the Russian Federation

664081, Russia, Irkutsk region, Irkutsk, Volzhskaya str., 51

filimonovarkadiyy@rambler.ru
Other publications by this author
 

 
Zav'yalov Aleksandr Nikolaevich

ORCID: 0000-0001-9261-2570

PhD in Pedagogy

Lecturer, Department of General Humanitarian and Socio-Economic Disciplines, Irkutsk Law Institute (branch) University of the Prosecutor's Office of the Russian Federation

664030, Russia, Irkutsk region, Irkutsk, Shevtsova str., 1

Zavyalov.61@bk.ru

DOI:

10.7256/2454-0692.2023.2.40118

EDN:

NQDFXH

Received:

31-03-2023


Published:

07-04-2023


Abstract: The subject of this study is the specifics of the investigation of crimes in which the victim was a minor. Taking into account the provisions of Russian legislation, political and legal documents, according to which children are the most important priority of state policy, in their study the authors tried to reveal the importance of a qualitative approach in the investigation of crimes in which the victims are representatives of one of the most vulnerable categories of the population in our state. Special attention is paid to the age and, as a consequence, the psychophysical and personal characteristics of minors as determinants of the latter's insecurity. At the same time, the features of modern post-industrial society characterized by the spread of the Internet space to the daily activities of minors have guided researchers in developing recommendations for preliminary investigation bodies related to the search, receipt and use of information distributed through the Internet network during the investigation. The main conclusions of the study are that the methodology of investigating crimes committed against minors is significantly different from other private methods of investigation by the elements of crimes, since its creation is based on the characteristics of the object of criminal encroachment. At the same time, age is a defining feature. In turn, the specifics of the methodological recommendations should proceed from the level of development of the information society, which makes it possible to use the features of digital relationships in the investigation of crimes, the victims of which are minors. The contribution of the authors to the study of the topic is not only the preparation of practice-oriented recommendations for investigators and inquirers (for example, on issues subject to mandatory clarification during the investigation, the need to study the identity of the injured minor through the analysis of publicly available information), but also the nomination of some proposals to improve the activities of prevention agencies and the measures they take (in particular, to identify minors who have a tendency to suicidal behavior through the joint development of monitoring programs for the activity of minors in the Internet space).


Keywords:

minors, crimes, methods of investigation, social institutions, preliminary investigation bodies, psychological contact, post-industrial society, personality of a minor, prevention, suicidal behavior

This article is automatically translated. You can find original text of the article here.

Ensuring the rights and freedoms of minors and, first of all, protecting children from criminal encroachments and their involvement in illegal activities is one of the most priority directions of the internal policy of the Russian Federation and the activities of its law enforcement agencies. These provisions are reflected in the Constitution of the Russian Federation, according to which Russia is a social state whose policy is aimed at creating conditions that ensure a decent life and free development of a person; in turn, a person, his rights and freedoms are the highest value, and the observance and protection of human and civil rights and freedoms is the duty of the state; childhood and family are protected by the state, and children are the most important priority of the state policy of Russia (The Constitution of the Russian Federation: adopted by popular vote on December 12, 1993 (subject to amendments made by the Laws of the Russian Federation on Amendments to the Constitution of the Russian Federation of October 30, 2008 No. 6-FKZ, of December 30, 2008 No. 7-FKZ, dated February 5, 2014 No. 2-FKZ, dated July 21, 2014 No. 11-FKZ, dated March 14, 2020 No. 1-FKZ) // Rossiyskaya Gazeta. - 1993. – December 25).

These provisions of the Constitution are expressed in legislation providing additional guarantees for the protection of the rights of minor victims, such as, for example, the mandatory participation of legal representatives or representatives (Part 2 of Article 45 of the Criminal Procedure Code of the Russian Federation (hereinafter referred to as the Code of Criminal Procedure of the Russian Federation), in case of damage to the health of a minor victim, compensation for the damage caused is made in accordance with a special Article. 1087 of the Civil Code of the Russian Federation (hereinafter referred to as the Civil Code of the Russian Federation); the possibility of initiating a criminal case of private prosecution by an investigator or with the consent of the prosecutor by an inquirer (Part 3 of Article 318 of the Code of Criminal Procedure of the Russian Federation); features of investigative actions, for example, interrogation of a minor victim with the mandatory participation of a teacher or psychologist with a shortened duration of interrogation compared to the general rule, etc. [1, p. 51].

In recent years, the problem of committing crimes against minors has become increasingly urgent. This is also confirmed by statistical data, according to which the number of crimes committed against minors is increasing (see diagram 1) (Information on registered crimes. Form 4-Unified State Exam for 2021-2022 // Portal of Legal Statistics. Prosecutor General's Office of the Russian Federation: official website. URL : http://crimestat.ru/analytics (accessed 25.03.2023)) [2, p. 31]. Moreover, do not forget about the existence of such a category as latent crime, reflecting the totality of crimes that are out of sight of law enforcement agencies.

 

The threats that haunt children of all ages, aggravated against the background of social and economic depression, acquire an acute and large-scale character, especially for children who find themselves in a difficult life situation and are in social institutions, since children left without parental care and placed in an orphanage develop the psychology of outcasts of society, outsiders, and she in turn, it determines a negative attitude to work and study, disrespect for the law and the basic values of society, acts as one of the subjective factors of criminalization of consciousness and, as a consequence, deviant and, ultimately, criminal behavior, which most often leads to their committing crimes against their peers or younger pupils of the institution [3, p. 675].

Lack of life experience, low level of self-criticism, lack of a comprehensive assessment of life circumstances, increased emotional excitability, impulsivity, motor and verbal activity, suggestibility, imitativeness, heightened sense of independence and other personality traits of a minor determine the victimization of their behavior, as well as features of the investigation of crimes committed against minors [4, p. 62]. In this regard, to counteract such crimes, in our opinion, the increase in sanctions, tougher sentences, the introduction of new articles in the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation are ineffective [5, p. 217; 6, p. 106]. The most important thing is to ensure the inevitability of punishment, which in turn is achieved through high quality in the investigation of such crimes, which requires not only the presence of peculiarities in legislation, as well as special knowledge in the field of law, but also knowledge in the field of psychology, pedagogy and other related sciences, as otherwise the result of an unprofessional approach citizens may become disbelieving in the state's ability to protect the rights and freedoms of minors, which in turn can lead to despair and various forms of lynching [7, p. 136].

Based on the above-mentioned characteristics of the personality of minors, as well as special guarantees provided for by the criminal procedure legislation, it should be borne in mind that the involvement of a teacher or psychologist adapted to the peculiarities of working with minors during the interrogation of a minor victim contributes greatly to psychological contact, the establishment of which is always necessary for the greatest effectiveness of the investigative action.

In order to identify and further analyze these personality traits, investigators and interrogators need to keep in mind the peculiarities of a post-industrial society in which information is an important resource and which is often placed in the public domain by minors.

The naivety of minors in this case can be used by law enforcement officers for good purposes, including in the investigation of crimes, the victim of which is a minor.

For example, one of the most important stages in the structure of interrogation, as one of the types of investigative actions, is preparatory, consisting in a thorough study of the case materials, as well as obtaining initial data, including the identity of the interrogated [8, p. 76]. Instagram Facebook, Facebook, dating sites, including tinder), the investigator, using information posted in the public domain (various social networks, such as Vkontakte, Tiktok, Instagram, facebook, dating sites, including tinder) has the opportunity to form an idea about the hobbies and interests of a minor, character, temperament, in general about his personality, and thereby to determine which qualities of a minor will contribute to the establishment of psychological contact (for example, sociability, openness, activity, frankness of a minor) or, on the contrary, will hinder its establishment (for example, closeness, secrecy, quick temper, shyness). Moreover, it is possible to use the data obtained not only during the interrogation, but also during the implementation of other investigative actions throughout the investigation of the crime.

In addition, it is important to establish the causes of the category of crimes under consideration and the conditions that contribute to them, information about which can also be obtained as a result of the analysis of publicly available data. For example, as a result of the investigation of a criminal case, it turns out that the child is in an environment that does not meet the requirements of his upbringing or maintenance. Also, often during the pre-investigation check it becomes known that a minor has got into a difficult life situation and (or) is in a socially dangerous position. As a consequence, in the presence of these circumstances, it is necessary to take immediate measures to involve the bodies and institutions of the system of prevention of neglect and juvenile delinquency in order to ensure the protection of the rights, freedoms and legitimate interests of the child, his transfer to another social institution, which can subsequently protect the teenager from committing crimes against him.

In addition, it should be taken into account that, as the analysis of the materials of criminal cases shows, most of the crimes under consideration are committed by persons who are close to the minor (for example, relatives, parents, etc.) [9, p. 125]. In this regard, the bodies of the prevention system, primarily educational institutions, which are one of the main bodies of the prevention system, need to pay timely attention to deviations in the behavior of a minor, school absences, bruises and abrasions, etc.

Moreover, since suicides and suicidal attempts are committed by school-age children, educational institutions are obliged to promptly notice and help the child in solving his problems, recognize the symptoms and signs of suicidal behavior, teach children to get out of stressful situations based on their professional knowledge and experience. Also, in our opinion, in order to increase the effectiveness of preventive activities, it is possible for specialists in the field of psychology and pedagogy, CDN employees, together with IT specialists, to develop programs that monitor social networks for a child's tendency to suicidal thoughts (by membership in certain communities, publications of a minor, preferences in audio compositions). The information obtained from this program can be further used as a guide to the need to strengthen preventive work in relation to specific minors.

Individual work with minors and their parents should be strengthened in general education institutions, special educational programs should be actively implemented to prevent possible situations when a teenager may become a victim of a crime.

As for the recommendations for the preliminary investigation bodies, the following should be taken into account.

When investigating crimes committed against minors of the category under consideration, it is necessary to form the idea among adolescents that the investigator pays special attention to their cases, seeks to establish the truth, help them, treats them objectively, responds to their requests, complaints and petitions.

Since minors often follow a certain example (regardless of whether it is good or bad) and authority, a reference group, whose behavior often determines the behavior of a minor, is important for them [10, p. 107; 11, p. 87] – in this regard, it is important for the investigator when investigating a crime against a minor, firstfirst, to establish who is or may be a model of behavior for a minor, which will determine the tactics of the investigator's behavior. Secondly, to become a role model for such a victim, especially for children left without parental care and held in social institutions, since in most cases their psychological state is unstable due to previously suffered negative life situations. In addition, these features determine the need to assign and conduct an investigation throughout the criminal case to one investigator, especially if he managed to establish psychological contact.

Considering issues related to the establishment of psychological contact, do not forget about the appearance of the investigator, as well as qualities such as attentiveness, concentration and impeccable knowledge of the case materials by the investigator. In turn, in order to overcome the personal qualities that make it difficult to establish psychological contact, the negative position of a minor, the opposition of legal representatives, such psychological influence techniques as persuasion, correctness, politeness combined with firmness and patience should be used, which is the key to a successful investigation of a criminal case [12, p. 50].

In addition, as in all criminal cases in general, in relation to the category under consideration, the timeliness of initiating a criminal case and, accordingly, the start of an investigation of a crime is of particular importance, since it is efficiency that determines the quality and effectiveness of the investigation, and timely disclosure and investigation of crimes committed against minors remain one of the priorities facing law enforcement officers. organs [13, p. 143; 14, p. 102]. A slight delay in solving this issue, on the contrary, can lead to the commission of new, including more dangerous crimes against a teenager.

It is also important, when the internal affairs bodies receive reports of a serious and especially serious crime committed against a minor, to immediately inform the relevant territorial division of the investigative department of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation, and the body of inquiry, in turn, to carry out urgent investigative actions with the involvement of employees of the Commission on Juvenile Affairs, psychologists and other persons.

Among other things, it should be taken into account that when planning the investigation of crimes committed against minors in conditions of their stay in social institutions (orphanages, boarding schools), both the general subject of proof and its details are of decisive importance. Moreover, these cases are often characterized by a large volume and complexity of investigative actions, which is predetermined, as a rule, by the group nature of most cases, a wider range of mandatory versions, the need to implement additional procedural guarantees, the involvement of mandatory participants, the need to study the living conditions and his upbringing.

In addition, the above-mentioned psychophysiological features of minors predetermine a specific range of issues to be clarified during the investigation, which should be reflected in the plan for any criminal case of a minor:

Firstly, the identification of the exact age of the minor (date, month, year). In the absence of a passport or birth certificate, the age is determined by seizing medical records, personal files in the personnel department, etc.; questioning witnesses, such as parents, guardians, trustees, adoptive parents, relatives, employees of social institutions; conducting forensic medical examination; sending requests to archives at the place of birth, residence or study. When determining the age by forensic medical examination, the birthday should be considered the last day of the year that is named by experts, and when determining the age by the minimum and maximum number of years, it should be based on the minimum age of such a person assumed by the examination. In all cases, a person is considered to have reached a certain age on the next day after the birthday.

Secondly, the study of the living conditions and upbringing of a minor, for which it is planned to collect data characterizing his family. The composition of the family is subject to determination, in particular whether it is full or incomplete. In the latter case, it is necessary to find out how long and for what reason the child is brought up by a single parent; how education is carried out. Moreover, it is required to obtain information characterizing legal representatives, family members, other persons influencing a minor (acquaintances, friends); information about relationships in the family; the presence or absence of immoral influence on a minor in the form of addictions on the part of those around the minor to gambling, alcoholic and alcohol-containing products, narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances and (or) intoxicating substances, committing depraved acts against the latter, negative effects on the part of adolescents with antisocial behavior. Also, in each specific case, material and living conditions are subject to establishment.

Thirdly, if a minor is in a social institution, it is necessary to find out the reasons for admission, living conditions and upbringing in the specified institution, as well as to obtain a description of the minor from teachers and educators.

When collecting the above data, the investigator must constantly remember the need to obtain information about the main character traits of a teenager, his inclinations, habits, circle of interests, nature of pastime, manifestations of age characteristics.

In addition, as already indicated, it is important to establish the causes and conditions that preceded the commission of a crime against a minor, which has been pointed out more than once in the scientific literature [15, p. 121].

When planning, it is necessary to take into account that in order to clarify the circumstances of the crime, it is necessary to conduct such investigative actions that are mandatory, such as questioning the legal representatives of the child, his teachers and educators who can provide the necessary information, as well as requesting the necessary documents, job descriptions of subjects of preventive activities.

Depending on the nature of the crime, as well as the information collected before the initiation of a criminal case, the inclusion in the plan of specific investigative actions and the determination of their timing and priority will depend. At the same time, when planning, it is recommended to take into account the personal characteristics of the injured minor, the category of the crime (since it is often necessary to use the features of the environment in which the minor became a victim (for example, the digital environment, which today often becomes favorable for committing crimes against children, and the number of crimes committed in this environment tends to to a steady increase [16, p. 36; 17, p. 17; 18, p. 195].)), as well as to take into account compliance with such general planning requirements as objectivity, timeliness, continuity, concreteness, reality, usability and ease of adjustment [19, p. 91-92]. In this regard, it is inappropriate to take long breaks in the investigation and lengthy interrogations, it is necessary to determine the order and tactics of interrogations that exclude the influence of adults.

Thus, the activities for the disclosure of crimes committed against minors should be carried out in the following directions:

1. Identification of adults in his environment who are prone to antisocial actions, the presence of conflicts between a minor and someone. It is possible to obtain valuable information from educators and other employees of prevention institutions, as well as employees of juvenile affairs inspections, as well as in the Internet space through the above-mentioned online resources, especially since this is important when investigating crimes committed against minors in the Internet space.

2. Identification of persons who were previously brought to criminal responsibility for committing crimes against minors.

3. Identification of persons who are aware of the circumstances of the committed crime. What is required to proceed from the analysis of the place, time, circumstances of the commission of the crime.

As a result of the initial investigative actions and operational search measures aimed at establishing the circumstances of the crime committed, the search for the guilty person and informed persons, the volume of information about the crime is expanding, which, in turn, allows us to specify the versions put forward about the circumstances of the crime, the perpetrators and clarify the lines of investigation. In turn, the available information must necessarily be checked by analyzing and evaluating the collected evidence, through the use of special knowledge, the involvement of specialists and experts [20, p. 51].

In addition, it should be borne in mind that the direction of the investigation, the nature and sequence of investigative actions and operational investigative measures depend on the degree of certainty of the information collected by this time.

Thus, the methodology for investigating crimes committed against minors, including in the conditions of their stay in social institutions, differs significantly from other private methods of investigation by the elements of crimes, in that its creation is based on the characteristics of the object of criminal encroachment. At the same time, age is a defining feature. In turn, the specifics of the methodological recommendations should proceed from the level of development of the information society, which makes it possible to use the features of digital relationships in the disclosure and investigation of crimes, the victims of which are minors. 

References
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2. Albeeva, A. Yu. (2022). Crimes committed against minors: the current state. Bulletin of the Amur State University. Series: Humanities, 96, 31–34.
3. Bakhmatova, T. G., & Chusova, Yu. A. (2015). Social exclusion of orphans as a determinant of criminogenic behavior. All-Russian Criminological Journal, 9(4), 674–681.
4. Fokina, I. V. (2010). Specificity of value orientations of adolescents with deviant behavior. Topical issues of psychology, pedagogy and social work, 9, 61–63.
5. Mironova, D. A. (2020). The impact on adolescents of crimes committed against (against) the family and minors. Epomen, 47, 217–223.
6. Polshikov, A.V. (2020). The main directions of improving the effectiveness of measures to combat crimes committed against minors on sexual grounds. Public safety, legality and law and order in the III millennium, 6-1, 103–108.
7. Kotelnikova, O. A. (2019). Some factors determining lynching as a socially negative phenomenon. Public service and personnel, 3, 135–137.
8. Shvets, S. V., & Golovin, M. V. (2021). Organizational and preparatory actions of the investigator during interrogations. Society: politics, economics, law, 1(90), 76–80.
9. Samvelyan, K. G. (2020). Crimes against minors committed at home. Actual scientific research in the modern world, 5-3(61), 125–129.
10. Sitnik, I. E. (2017). The role of the reference group in the socialization of adolescents. Problems of modern science and education, 22(104), 107–109.
11. Smoleva, E. O. & Shishigina, S. N. (2018). The role of the family and reference groups in the formation of illegal behavior of minors, 4(44), 79–88.
12. Badzgaradze, T. A. (2020). The significance of criminalistic methodology in the investigation of crimes against the family and minors. T. A. Badzgaradze, A.V. Bachieva, T. S. Bosiev (Eds.). Journal of Legal and Economic Research, 4, 38–51.
13. Verkhoturova, S. V. (2016). Some issues of appointment and production of forensic examination at the stage of initiation of a criminal case. Legal science and law enforcement practice, 3(37), 143–147.
14. Erin, K. A. (2021). Interrogation of minor victims in criminal cases of crimes against sexual integrity: criminal procedural and criminalistic aspects. Penitentiary law: legal theory and law enforcement practice, 2(28), 102–105.
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A REVIEW of an article on the topic "Certain issues of the methodology of investigating crimes committed against minors". The subject of the study. The article proposed for review is devoted to certain issues of "... methods of investigating crimes committed against minors." The author has chosen a special subject of research: the proposed issues are investigated from the point of view of criminal, administrative and criminal procedure law, while the author notes that "Ensuring the rights and freedoms of minors and, first of all, protecting children from criminal encroachments and their involvement in illegal activities is one of the most priority areas of domestic policy of the Russian Federation The Federation and the activities of its law enforcement agencies." NPAs relevant to the purpose of the study are being studied. A large volume of Russian scientific literature on the stated issues is also studied and summarized, analysis and discussion with these opposing authors are present. At the same time, the author notes: "The threats that haunt children of all ages, which are aggravated against the background of social and economic depression, are becoming acute and widespread, especially for children who find themselves in a difficult life situation and are in social institutions ..." Research methodology. The purpose of the study is determined by the title and content of the work: "The most important thing is to ensure the inevitability of punishment, which in turn is achieved through high quality in the investigation of such crimes, which requires not only the presence of peculiarities in legislation, as well as special knowledge in the field of law, but also knowledge in the field of psychology, pedagogy and other related sciences...", "... it must be borne in mind that the involvement of a teacher or psychologist adapted to the specifics of working with minors during the interrogation of a minor victim greatly contributes to psychological contact, the establishment of which is always necessary for the greatest effectiveness of the investigative action being carried out." They can be designated as the consideration and resolution of certain problematic aspects related to the above-mentioned issues and the use of certain experience. Based on the set goals and objectives, the author has chosen a certain methodological basis for the study. The author uses a set of private scientific, special legal methods of cognition. In particular, the methods of analysis and synthesis made it possible to generalize approaches to the proposed topic and influenced the author's conclusions. The most important role was played by special legal methods. In particular, the author used formal legal and comparative legal methods, which made it possible to analyze and interpret the norms of acts of Russian legislation and compare various documents. In particular, the following conclusions are drawn: "In order to identify and further analyze these personality traits, investigators and interrogators need to keep in mind the peculiarities of a post-industrial society in which information is an important resource and which is often placed in the public domain by minors," etc. Thus, the methodology chosen by the author is fully adequate to the purpose of the article, allows you to study many aspects of the topic. The relevance of the stated issues is beyond doubt. This topic is important in Russia, from a legal point of view, the work proposed by the author can be considered relevant, namely, he notes "In recent years, the problem of committing crimes against minors has become increasingly relevant." And in fact, an analysis of the opponents' work should follow here, and it follows and the author shows the ability to master the material. Thus, scientific research in the proposed field is only to be welcomed. Scientific novelty. The scientific novelty of the proposed article is beyond doubt. It is expressed in the specific scientific conclusions of the author. Among them, for example, the following: "... the investigator, using information posted in the public domain ... has the opportunity to form an idea about the hobbies and interests of a minor, character, temperament, in general about his personality, and thereby determine which qualities of a minor will contribute to the establishment of psychological contact." As can be seen, these and other "theoretical" conclusions "... in order to increase the effectiveness of preventive activities, it is possible for specialists in the field of psychology and pedagogy, KDN staff, together with IT specialists, to develop programs that monitor social networks for a child's tendency to suicidal thoughts ..." can be used in further research. Thus, the materials of the article as presented may be of interest to the scientific community. Style, structure, content. The subject of the article corresponds to the specialization of the journal "Police activity", as it is devoted to certain issues "... methods of investigating crimes committed against minors". The article contains an analysis of the opponents' scientific works, so the author notes that a question close to this topic has already been raised and the author uses their materials, discusses with opponents. The content of the article corresponds to the title, since the author considered the stated problems and achieved the goal of his research. The quality of the presentation of the study and its results should be recognized as improved. The subject, objectives, methodology, research results, and scientific novelty directly follow from the text of the article. The design of the work meets the requirements for this kind of work. No significant violations of these requirements were found, except for the descriptions "keep in mind" (keep in mind). The bibliography is quite complete, contains publications that the author refers to. This allows the author to correctly identify problems and put them up for discussion. The quality of the literature presented and used should be highly appreciated. The presence of scientific literature showed the validity of the author's conclusions and influenced the author's conclusions. The works of these authors correspond to the research topic, have a sign of sufficiency, and contribute to the disclosure of many aspects of the topic. Appeal to opponents. The author conducted a serious analysis of the current state of the problem under study. The author describes the opponents' different points of view on the problem, argues for a more correct position in his opinion, based on the work of opponents, and offers solutions to problems. Conclusions, the interest of the readership. The conclusions are logical, specific "When investigating crimes committed against minors of the category under consideration, it is necessary to form the idea among adolescents that the investigator pays increased attention to their cases, seeks to establish the truth, help them, treats them objectively, responds to their requests, complaints and petitions", "... the specifics of methodological recommendations should proceed from the level of development of the information society, which makes it possible to use the features of digital relationships in the disclosure and investigation of crimes, the victims of which are minors," etc. The article in this form may be of interest to the readership in terms of the systematic positions of the author in relation to the issues stated in the article. Based on the above, summing up all the positive and negative sides of the article, I recommend publishing it.