Victims of Sexual Related Offences are afforded ‘Special Measures’ Under S.16 & S.17 Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act. As this type of victim you are automatically afforded the right to Special Measures. Special Measures are a series of measures which may make the court procedure easier for witnesses, they include:
- Evidence in Private - The court can be cleared of anyone not directly involved in the case ie public gallery, press, etc.
- Removal of wigs and gowns - Barristers, Judges, Clerks and Ushers when in court wear formal wigs and gowns. In some circumstances these can be removed if this is likely to benefit a witness.
- Intermediary - People with learning difficulties may benefit from being accompanied to court by an intermediary.
- Evidence In Chief - If as mentioned earlier, if a video interview is taken this is played to the court and prevents the witness having to explain the circumstances within a court room. From the video interview they are then asked questions which is referred to as cross examination.
- TV Link - This would be where a witness would be in a separate room within the court building but away from the court room. You would communicate with the court via the video link similar to a video call. This option allows you to provide your evidence without having to enter the court room.
- Screens - Screens can be erected at the side of the witness box whilst a witness gives evidence. This allows only the Judge, Jury and Barrister to see the witness and the witness is therefore hidden from the defendant.
Attending court and given evidence can be a very worrying and intimidating time. We will do everything we can to ensure things are made as easy as possible. We can arrange for a pre trial court visits so you attend at court a few weeks before your trial so you can see the layout and familiarise yourself with where everyone involved in the trial would sit.
- If you’re worried about being identified, you don’t need to be. The law protects you from this by giving anonymity to victims of sexual attacks for their lifetime.
- No information likely to lead to your identification as a victim can be published. This includes your name, address, photograph, school, workplace or any other details that could cause you to be identified.
- It is also possible for you to report matters to Police and remain anonymous, this is a way of you telling the Police of something that has happened to you for us to be aware whilst your details are not recorded. In these circumstances it would be unlikely we would be able to successfully prosecute any individuals but it may be information we are able to act upon.