Young Witness Service Supporting young witnesses giving evidence
Giving evidence in court is distressing for anyone. But for children who’ve been through something as horrific as sexual abuse, it’s even harder.
Going to court to talk about what happened can add to the trauma they’ve already suffered.
We provide free, independent and confidential support and assistance to children and young people under 18 years old who have to attend court as witnesses in Northern Ireland.
NSPCC workers and volunteers provide information and advice to children and young people - as well as their family, friends and supporters - before, during and after the trial.
The service is available to young witnesses in all types of crime in every Crown, Magistrate and Youth court. It’s funded by the Department of Justice in Northern Ireland, which also produces a guide for young people: The Victim Charter – a charter for victims of crime (PDF).
How it works
Being a witness can be a very daunting and intimidating experience for a child. The support we offer aims to:
- reduce the stress experienced by children and young people
- prevent any further trauma
- ensure full and appropriate attention is given by professionals and the criminal justice system to the needs of young witnesses.
We adapt the support we give to meet the child's individual needs and the legal context of their case. We help children complete their victim personal statements. Where appropriate, the service can make referrals to other agencies for further support for the young witness.
Volunteer for the Young Witness Service
Give your time to support children in Northern Ireland who must give evidence in court.
Support our services
Our services help children and families who need support. With your help, we can make sure even more children are safe from abuse.
It's time to demand change
The government doesn't know how many children have been abused and need support. Help us change this.