Innovation day: Supporting witnesses

What happened on 26 July 2018?

We asked the question: “How can we support witnesses to better prepare themselves when attending court?

When witnesses attend court they are often ill-prepared for the experience and may well have never attended court beforehand. At present, all services that support witnesses are face-to-face, are only available during working hours, and require volunteers to run them. It’s quite clear these services haven’t adapted to the modern world and are often inaccessible.

Attending court as a witness can be a traumatic experience, so we investigated how we might ensure everyone can receive support, information and be as prepared as possible.

Three teams worked through the problem by delving into research and questioning experts from Ministry of Justice, Supporting Justice, HM Courts & Tribunals Service.

Catherine Hinwood, Deputy Director in Victim and Witness Policy at Ministry of Justice, described the day as “a really innovative piece of work that I am extremely supportive of.”

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