Children who are witnesses in court may have lived through trauma and abuse and their involvement in the criminal justice system can have a big impact on their recovery. Positive experiences can help them move forward but negative experiences can be damaging.
Receiving tailored support at every step of the witness process is a crucial part of helping children who have been abused get back on track.
In 2009, we published a report examining how well government policy and practice guidance met the needs of young witnesses in England and Wales (Plotnikoff and Woolfson, 2009).
Ten years later, the researchers gathered views from 272 criminal justice policymakers and practitioners to find out what has improved and what work still needs to be done.
Authors: Joyce Plotnikoff and Richard Woolfson
The policy and practice framework for young witnesses in England and Wales has improved since 2009, but provision of support is inconsistent. This means some children are still at risk of having negative experiences and being retraumatised.
Other key findings include:
Please cite as: Plotnikoff, J. and Woolfson, R. (2019) Falling short?: a snapshot of young witness policy and practice. London: NSPCC.
Plotnikoff, J. and Woolfson, R. (2009) Measuring up?: evaluating implementation of Government commitments to young witnesses in criminal proceedings. London: NSPCC.
Plotnikoff, J. and Woolfson, R. (2011) Young witnesses in criminal proceedings: a progress report on Measuring up? (2009). London: Nuffield Foundation.
Our service providing help and support to children and young people who have to attend court and give evidence as prosecution witnesses in Northern Ireland.
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