Help for witnesses
Many witnesses feel worried about going to court, regardless of whether or not they were the victim of the crime. Victim Support runs the Witness Service in every criminal court in London to give information and support to witnesses, victims, their families and friends when they go to court.
- witnesses who are called to give evidence, including defence witnesses
- victims of crime and their families and friends attending court for any reason
- children as well as adults.
Witness Service staff and volunteers can give you:
- someone to talk to in confidence
- a chance to see the court beforehand and learn about court procedures
- a quiet place to wait
- someone to go with you into the court room when giving evidence
- practical help (for example with expense forms)
- easier access to people who can answer specific questions about the case (the Witness Service cannot discuss evidence or offer legal advice)
- a chance to talk over the case when it has ended and to get more help or information.
Like the rest of Victim Support, the Witness Service is free and independent of the police or courts. You can contact your local Witness Service directly.
If you are going to court or might need to do so, you may want to know more about how the criminal justice system works. In this section of the site, you can find information about:
- what happens before court
- going to court
- and what happens after court. This section contains information about prison sentences, probation contact with victims, sentences for young offenders and restorative justice.
There is also information about the criminal justice process, from reporting the crime through to sentence on the Victims' walkthrough website.