Children in court - Part 1

Appendix II

Volunteer role description

Crown Court Witness Service

Title: Witness Service Volunteer

Reports to: Co-ordinator

Purpose of role: To enable child witnesses and their associates to deal with the experience of attending court and giving evidence by providing free and confidential support, advice and information, in accordance with Victim Support policy and guidelines, and the principles of Equal Opportunities.

Main tasks:

1. To receive details of witnesses and their associates from the co-ordinator and make contact to offer support, in accordance with Victim Support policy.

2. To provide witnesses and their associates with support, advice and information to assist them with the practical and emotional impact of attending court and giving evidence.

This will involve:

meeting the child, carer/Police Officer/Social Worker and Child Liaison Officer (CLO) at the start of the first pre-trial familiarisation visit

accompanying the CLO whilst s/he shows the child the CCTV equipment and waiting facilities. CLO will take a lead role. CLO will hand the child over to the Witness Service (WS) volunteer when this familiarisation is complete

using the Home Office/NSPCC Child Witness Pack, the WS volunteer will provide basic information on court procedure and trial process. The volunteer will give (or send) the child and parent the appropriate booklets

agree a further visit to court if the child requests or requires it, and liaise with CLO regarding arrangements

liaise with the CLO regarding any special arrangements for the trial, eg. arrival and exit from the building

on the day of the trial, meeting with the child on arrival with the CLO

accompanying the child into the CCTV link room or court, including any breaks

listening and empathising with the child's concerns, without discussing evidence or the details of the case

contacting the CLO and WS co-ordinator if issues arise that the volunteer feels unable to deal with. A telephone in the child's waiting room will facilitate this purpose

offering a post trial visit in a suitable location to the child or referring the child to an appropriate agency.

3. Complete research questionnaire for pilot project evaluation and give questionnaire to child and carer for completion.

4. If required, liaise with the referring agency and carer, ensuring the WS co-ordinator is aware of contact.

5. Provide a written report to the co-ordinator of all work undertaken with or on behalf of witnesses.

Victim Support

January 1995

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