Giving evidence in court is changing...

The first ever case allowing vulnerable witnesses to give evidence ahead of, rather than in, a court-room trial begun last week.

In a ground-breaking pilot, the most vulnerable victims and witnesses are giving their evidence and being cross-examined away from the intense atmosphere of a live courtroom, in an attempt to spare them from what could be aggressive questioning in front of jury, judge and their alleged attacker.

This Government is initially trying this new approach in three courts, with the aim of rolling it out more widely if successful. If implemented nationally, it means that ambulance staff needed to present in court may not have to attend the trial; instead, they could be able to give their evidence and be cross-examined by both prosecution and defence barristers ahead of the trial, in front of a judge, and then have it is shown to the jury.

The start of this pilot marks the latest in a series of measures aimed at making the criminal justice system better meet victims’ needs; more money than ever before is being provided to help and support victims as they cope and recover from the traumatic effects of crime.

Anne Wright, our Local Security Management Specialist, said: "I’m really pleased that the needs of the victims are being put first in this pilot. Being called as a witness is always hard for staff and I never under-estimate how difficult it is to come forward and the courage it takes to stand in court and give evidence.  

“I always encourage victims to speak up and tell their side of the story, and to remember there is support available if they are worried about anything".

You can contact Anne for more information and advice at

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