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Achieving best evidence in criminal proceedings: guidance for vulnerable or intimidated witnesses, including children: consultation paper

GREAT BRITAIN. Home Office. Communication Directorate
Great Britain. Home Office. Communication Directorate
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The principal areas, which require attention if the needs of vulnerable witnesses whether adults or children are to be met, are: the recognition and subsequent reporting of crime; the identification of vulnerabilities; and putting effective measures to address these into place during investigation, pre-trial preparation and during and after any criminal trial. Children are defined as vulnerable by reason of their age. The Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act 1999 acknowledges that all children under 17 years of age, appearing as defence or prosecution witnesses in criminal proceedings, are eligible for Special Measures to assist them in providing their evidence and having their evidence heard at court. Early identification of the individual abilities as well as disabilities of each vulnerable adult is important in order to guide subsequent planning. An exclusive emphasis upon disability ignores the strengths and positive abilities which a vulnerable individual possesses. Vulnerable witnesses may have had social experiences which may have implications for the investigation and any subsequent court proceedings. Research suggests that sexual offences, assaults, and those offences where the victim knew the offender are particularly likely to lead to intimidation of witnesses. It seems likely that crimes which involved repeated victimisation such as stalking and racial harassment are also particularly likely to lead to intimidation. In addition, some witnesses to other crimes may be under fear and distress and may require safeguarding and support in order to give their best evidence.


Good practice in child protection: a manual for professionals

Jessica Kingsley
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Practical manual for use by all professionals involved in child abuse cases. Includes sections on: the Children Act 1989; recognition of abuse; preventing female genital mutilation; children with disabilities; communicating effectively with children about abuse; promoting inter professional collaboration; child protection conferences; child protection plans; the giving of evidence by victims of child abuse; child protection from the police perspective; and supervision and support of social workers and other professionals working in the child protection field.

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