The Statement of National Standards of Witness Care in the Criminal Justice System states that unless it is necessary for the evidence, witnesses should not have to give their addresses in open court. The Criminal Justice System has recognised that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGB&T) people may be frightened that giving their address out might lead to reprisals. The Crown Prosecution Service staff should be able to reassure you about this.
The Criminal Justice System have also recognised that there may be issues around the way in which LGB&T people are required to give evidence and so the courts have a new power to make directions to the media restricting the reporting of the identities of vulnerable witnesses. An application has to be made to the court by the witness' lawyer and the court has to decide on the witness' eligibility for protection and whether a reporting restriction would improve the quality of that witness' evidence or their co-operation in giving evidence.
It is a criminal offence to intimidate (frighten) a witness, and it is the responsibility of the Crown Prosecution Service to ensure the witness's safety. If you are worried about meeting the defendant, a witness, anyone else involved in the trial, or a friend or relative of any of these people, tell the police or the lawyer who has called you as a witness. You should then be able to wait in a separate room before and during the trial.
The Criminal Justice System (CJS) has improved the way victims and witnesses are considered and treated within the CJS. Work has been done to increase communication with victims and witnesses and de-mystify the system consequently more and more witnesses are coming forward to give evidence now. Victims and witnesses undergo a detailed needs assessment so that the support required is being clearly identified and the needs are being met.
Click here to download the Victim Support leaflet Going to Court.
Click here to download the Criminal Justice System leaflet A Guide for victims (pdf in download attachment folder).
Being a witness can be a worrying experience all those involved in tackling crime understand this and will support you. Remember you play a vital role in ensuring that justice is done. Click here to go to a Witness Virtual Walkthrough.
If you cannot find the information you need on this website, you can call the Stonewall Cymru offices on 029 20 237744 or 01492 622202 or the Stonewall info line on 08000 50 20 20 (Mon-Fri 9:30am - 5:30pm) and we will try to point you in the right direction.