Going to court to give evidence as a victim or witness

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Extra support in the courtroom

The court may be able to take extra steps to protect you if you:

  • are under 18
  • have a mental or physical disability
  • are afraid to give evidence
  • are a victim of a sexual offence
  • are a victim of other serious crimes, such as domestic violence or attempted murder

These steps are called ‘special measures’ and include:

  • screens, so the defendant cannot see you
  • giving evidence by video link from somewhere else (the defendant will be able to see you)
  • asking the public to leave the courtroom when you give evidence, if the case is about a sexual offence
  • recording your evidence in front of a camera before the trial
  • having someone explain the questions and help you reply to the court (an ‘intermediary’)
  • providing communication aids for you or others to use, such as symbols or alphabet boards
  • having members of the court not wear their formal wigs and gowns to make you feel more at ease

How to get extra support

If you’re the victim or a prosecution witness, speak to your witness care officer or the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

If you’re a defence witness, speak to the defence lawyer.

The trial judge will then decide what support will be made available to you.