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Vulnerable Witnesses

Volume 410: debated on Friday 19 September 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the impact of the Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act 1999 on the experience of vulnerable witnesses.[128648]

The Home Office has commissioned a consortium of researchers to conduct an evaluation of special measures for vulnerable and intimidated witnesses (VIWs). The aims of the research are: (1) to evaluate how well the special measures have been implemented throughout the criminal justice system (CJS); and (2) to examine the experience of VIWs before and after the implementation of special measures in Crown Courts. The latter was addressed using pre and post-implementation surveys. The pre-implementation survey was conducted in 2000 and published in 2001 (Home Office Research Findings 147). This report can be found on the Home Office website at: post-implementation survey was conducted in 2003 and is currently being written-up. The survey work will help determine: whether the introduction of special measures has been accompanied by an increase in VIWs' satisfaction with the CJS, to what extent provisions for VIWs have changed with the implementation of special measures; and VIWs attitudes to the special measures. Home Office Research and Development Statistics expect to publish a full report next year.