The NSPCC and Victim Support are joining forces in the development of a new support service for young witnesses across England and Wales.
The charities aim to create a consistent, accessible young witness service run by Victim Support to help witnesses aged under 18 who have to give evidence at court. Support from young witness workers helps children prepare for court so they are able to give their best evidence in criminal trials. The charities hope the young witness service will help bring people to justice , including those who abuse children, by supporting young people through the trauma of the court process.
Building on its current work with young witnesses, Victim Support will deliver the new services drawing on the NSPCC’s expertise in child protection and in developing innovative services. This will create a dedicated young witness support programme for all criminal courts.
Last year Victim Support helped over 12,000 children through the daunting and often intimidating experience of giving evidence. Work to develop the service began in January 2012. The charities hope it will be up-and-running within a year.