You will have met me at your pre-trial visit. This is when you come to look around court before the trial. I will also be here waiting for you on the day you come to give your evidence. I'm here to help you with any questions or worries that you have.
Here are some questions that other young witnesses have asked me.
It's important that you feel comfortable in your clothes at court. You may be waiting a long time at for your turn to give evidence. It is important to be clean and tidy and your witness supporter can help you think what to wear.
Your friends at school or college don't need to know that you are going to court, but it's a good idea to tell your teacher as you will need time off from school. But you don't need to tell your teacher everything that happened - just that you need time off. Your teacher can also help you catch up with work you have missed and give you some emotional support. Your witness supporter can help you talk to school if you want them to.
If you are worried this can sometimes make you feel unwell, with butterflies or sickness in your stomach, headache or really tired. It's really important to go to court and give your evidence if you can. If you are so unwell that you can't go to court then you or your parents should call your witness supporter and let them know.
When you have your pre-trial visit this is a good time to see what your best route to court is and how long it will take. Often you will be expected to arrive at court in the morning - the roads can be busier at this time so give yourself plenty of time and plan for traffic.
If you are going to be late then you or your parents should call your witness supporter and let them know.
It's normal to feel scared. Your witness supporter will help you plan ways that you will be safe at court. This includes:
You can plan who will come to court with you, who will travel with you, and who will meet you there.
I am a member of your family, your carer or someone making decisions about your welfare in place of your family like a social worker.
One or two adult family members, your carer or social worker can come to court to support you. It's better not to have other children come as the waiting rooms can be small and you can be waiting a long time. At least one adult who is with you should not be a witness in the case so that they can stay with you in the waiting room.
If the court has agreed that you need an intermediary, you will have already met me beforehand. We will plan together if I will travel with you to court, or if I will meet you there.
If the court has agreed that you need an interpreter, I will be able to meet you at court.
I could be another worker that has been supporting you, and you will have already met me beforehand. We will plan together if I will travel with you to court, or if I will meet you there.
I am one of the security guards and my job is to keep you and other people safe at court. There are other security guards in the building but I stand inside the entrance to security check people who come into the building. I ask people to walk through a metal detector and check their bags to make sure they don't bring anything into court which they shouldn't. It is important you know what you can and can't bring with you to court. Click on your bag to find out what you can and can't bring.
It is important that you plan your journey to make sure you can get to court on time. Your witness supporter can help you think about the best travel arrangements for you and how to claim your travel expenses back on the day of trial.
There are some things that would be helpful to bring with you to court, especially as you may need to wait before being able to give your evidence.
I am here to help you think about how you can prepare for court. Things I can help you plan are:
Each court will have a main entrance. This is the way most people enter the court. If you feel worried about coming through the main entrance and seeing others involved in the trial, you can talk to your young witness supporter, who may be able to help organise a separate entrance for you to use.
Each court is different and some are more accessible than others. You can speak to your young witness supporter to make sure that all the accessible aids are in place to help you whilst you are in court, e.g. ramps, accessible courtroom, accessible toilet etc.