Children in court - Part 2
Acknowledgements and thanks to:
- the volunteers and co-ordinators of all the Witness Services who took part in this survey
- John Lait for writing the computer programme and producing the statistics
Janice Chandler and Diane Lait are both Witness Service co-ordinators. The research developed from their concerns about children giving evidence and the apparent variations in the treatment of child witnesses around the country.
Aims of the studyThe study aimed to consider the experiences of children and young people appearing as witnesses in the Crown Court. It attempted to:
- evaluate what pre-trial preparation the children received.1
- examine waiting times both before trial and at the time of the hearing.
- record how children's evidence was heard.
- The information for this study was provided by a total of 26 Witness Services in England and Wales.
- All young people aged 17 years and under, who came to give evidence in the research period, were included in the study.
- A standard form was filled in at the completion of the proceedings, one per child, by the volunteer/co-ordinator who had been involved with the child at court.
- The research period was April, May & June of 1994 and 1995.
- The experiences of the Witness Service with 1000 children were recorded.
1. As the returns were analysed it became apparent that the
nature of the offence (either sexual or non-sexual) influenced the preparation
which was offered to the child. Within this research sample, most children
(67%) were giving evidence in trials where there was at least one sexual offence. Where
relevant tables/graphs take into account this factor. Appendix II gives