Children and young people aged under 16 years and some adults are treated as vulnerable witnesses in court. A range of special measures are available which can be put in place to support vulnerable witnesses during court proceedings.
Special measures can include the use of a screen in the courtroom, a TV link to somewhere outside the courtroom and a supporter to sit with you while you give evidence.
There are other things that can be done to help make it easier being a witness, like using a different door to other people to go in to court, using a different waiting room to others, having someone meet you at the door of the courtroom so you don’t have to go in alone, taking breaks when needed in court, and having a court familiarisation visit so you know what to expect.
The Scottish Government’s ‘mygov.scot’ website aims to provide information about being a witness, and provides a format to help widen the accessibility of the information.
It has separate areas specifically for children, young people and adults, with each section providing information on going to court, being a witness and what to expect when giving evidence.
The site is intended as a useful resource to anyone being a witness in criminal proceedings or at Children’s Hearing court proceedings.
The Scottish Government also has a CD-Rom package, complete with a series of booklets and guide for parents and carers to support child witnesses. The CD-Rom features scenes filmed in a court with a real sheriff and lawyers, and child actors.