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Vulnerable Witnesses

Volume 584: debated on Tuesday 8 July 2014

8. What the Crown Prosecution Service is doing to ensure that adequate support is given to vulnerable witnesses in cases of sexual abuse or domestic violence.


May I welcome my hon. Friend to Law Officers questions?

The Crown Prosecution Service works closely with the police and voluntary sector to ensure that vulnerable victims of sexual abuse and domestic violence are well supported. Special measures include: intermediaries; screening at court; and use of the video live link to help victims give their best evidence, supported by independent sexual violence advisers and domestic advisers who can guide them through the criminal justice process.

Does my right hon. and learned Friend agree that new measures such as pre-recording evidence with vulnerable witnesses before a trial go a long way towards helping victims? Will he join me in thanking local organisations such as the Newark Women’s Aid and refuge which have campaigned on this for several years?

Yes, I am delighted to do so. I am also delighted to tell my hon. Friend that the Crown Prosecution Service in the east midlands is due to commence a pilot in Nottinghamshire shortly, whereby victims of domestic violence will be offered the chance to give evidence by video live link. A number of other measures have been put in place by the CPS to try to improve victims’ experience of going to court to give evidence in those very difficult cases.