MONTREAL -- A new specialized Montreal police squad is helping fight crimes against children.

The unit icludes dedicated investigators and prosecutors who work together on files that are often as difficult as they are delicate.

“It’s extremely emotional for all police officers to work those types of cases,” said squad commander Isabelle Schanck, a 30-year veteran of the SPVM. “For me, nothing is more precious than children and I wanted to make sure that when we’re dealing with them, these cases are treated as thoroughly as possible, with the best expertise available.”

All police officers go through special training to deal with children, taught by psychotherapist and sexologist Genevieve Boivert-Pilon of the Marie-Vincent Foundation, which supports children and teens who are victims of sexual and physical violence.

“They have been through something that’s very difficult and, depending on their age, they don’t necessarily understand everything they have been though or all the consequences it could have,” she said.

According to Boivert-Pilot, a big part of the training is teaching officers how to reassure the children.

“Part of the technique is also to create a relationship with the child, so the child will slowly understand that the police officer is interested in him or her and what they have to say, so they don’t go right away into what happened, into the abuse per se,” she said. “They take the time to get to know the child.”

Boivert-Pilon said having a dedicated squad for these types of crimes will help officers build and develop new techniques, which they will put in practice everyday.

“With proper help and the proper resources they can truly go through life-- I can’t say as if nothing happened, but they won’t be defined by what they have been through.”