The Witness Service can offer:
- Someone to talk to in confidence.
- A visit to the court and a look around a courtroom before the trial.
- Information on court procedures.
- A quiet place for you to wait before and during the trial.
- Someone to accompany you into the courtroom if you have to give evidence.
- Practical help, for example with expenses forms.
- To put you in touch with people who can answer questions about your case (the Witness Service cannot discuss evidence or offer legal advice).
- A chance to talk over the case when it has ended and to get more help and information.
If you are called as a witness, you can claim your expenses after the trial. These expenses may include travel to the court, or loss of earnings. The Witness Care Officer who asked you to go to court will have sent you an expenses claim form. The Witness Service can give you more information on claiming expenses and can help you to complete the claim form.
Going to court
Going to court as a witness or victim of crime can be a worrying experience, particularly if it is your first time and you don’t know what to expect. Court procedures can be confusing. This website tells you how to get information and support which will help you cope with giving evidence.
The Witness Service
The Witness Service has trained volunteers that help witnesses, victims and their families and friends before, during and after a hearing. It is run by Victim Support, the national charity which helps people cope with crime. There is a Witness Service in every Crown Court and Magistrates Court in England and Wales.
The service is confidential and free.
If you have been asked to attend court as a witness the Witness Care Officer who has asked you to go to court should have advised you that they would be referring you to the Witness Service (unless you have asked them not to do this). The Witness Service will then contact you in advance of the trial to offer its services.
Do I need to bring anything to court with me?
If you are attending court, you may find it useful to take the following:
- A friend or relative – you don’t have to attend court alone.
- The letter asking you to attend court.
- A book or magazine to read – you may have to wait a while until the court are ready to hear your evidence.
- Some money to cover costs on the day, such as car parking or refreshments.