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01609 643100

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Need help outside of our office hours?

0808 168 9111

Call the national victim supportline, operating 24/7.

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Giving witness evidence

The court will hold a hearing where magistrates or a jury decide if someone is guilty of the crime.

All cases start in a magistrates’ court, but the most serious crimes (like murder or robbery) are passed on to a higher court. This is the Crown Court.

For some people, giving evidence in court can be very difficult. Children under 17, victims of sexual offences or violent crimes and people with communication difficulties are some of those who may need special help.

They are known as vulnerable or intimidated witnesses and may be allowed to use special measures to help them give their evidence in the best possible way and to avoid being upset.

Everyone involved understands that any witness may be nervous, especially if they are also a victim of crime and you will be treated with courtesy and consideration. The Court Service has a legal duty to make sure you have a separate waiting area and a seat in the courtroom away from the defendant’s family, where possible.

Its staff will also try to make sure that you do not have to wait more than two hours to give evidence. Supporting Victims has further information on going to court as a witness.