Children in court - Part 1
Child Liaison Officer
Purpose of role
The Child Liaison Officer (CLO) has the responsibility for producing a high level of service by the court in each case involving a child witness. The CLO's function is to co-ordinate arrangements to provide the facilities outlined below and to provide a focal point for liaison with all the criminal justice agencies, including the Witness Service, on a case by case basis.
1. To be aware of all child abuse cases and other cases involving CCTV link for child witnesses to be held at the court from receipt of committal papers or notice of transfer.
2. To liaise with the officer in the case, CPS, Witness Service Co-ordinator, Social Services, Supervising Usher etc. over arrangements for preliminary visits to the Court by the child and child witness's supporters.
3. During the visit to arrange for a demonstration of the TV Link equipment if appropriate and the child to see a courtroom and the children's waiting room/witness room. Defence counsel also to be informed of the date of the visit. Visits to be timed at 9.30 am; 1.00 pm or 4.15 pm for the convenience of the child.
4. To be available to answer questions of fact regarding Court procedure from the child or child witness's supporters. All other questions eg. evidence or details of the case to be referred to the CPS/police officer.
5. To liaise with the listing officer over the listing of the case and timing of the child's evidence, to minimise delays and ensure the earliest release of the child.
6. Wherever practical to act as Court Clerk and to keep child witnesses/representatives and carers abreast of developments on the day of hearing.
7. To ensure that the equipment has been properly set up and tested on the day of the trial.
8. To consult with the trial judge on the day of hearing over the procedure to be followed eg. removal of wigs and gowns, return of a previous jury, use of equipment, etc.
9. To meet the child on the day of hearing, with the Witness Service volunteer, and show the child to the waiting room/witness room.
10. To ensure that the list officer is kept informed of developments and if the case is stood out, be prepared to offer alternative dates for hearing.
11. To maintain an accurate record of requests for CCTV Link cases, deal with any necessary correspondence and to ensure that completed forms are despatched after the hearing. Check statistics are correct when received.
12. Once a month to examine the Child Video Tape Log Book (initialling the checked entry) to ensure that all tapes can be accounted for and are booked out only to those who have a valid reason for dealing with them.
13. In the absence of the CLO there will be a named deputy to take over the role.
All contact with the Court users to comply with the requirements laid down in the Court Charter.