Giving your evidence - FAQs
Victim Support has helped thousands of young witnesses and have listened to many of their questions and worries.
Here are some of the questions that other young witnesses have asked.
If you have any questions remember to talk to your witness supporter or another adult who can help.
What if I want a break?
You can ask the judge or magistrates for help at any time when you are giving evidence. If you need to go to the toilet, take a break or get a drink of water, just ask.
What if I don’t understand a question?
Just tell the court that you don’t understand. The barristers or solicitors will need to find a way of asking the question that you can understand.
What if I don’t know the answer?
That’s fine too. It’s okay to say: “I don’t know” or “I can’t remember.”
Do I have to tell the truth?
Yes, it’s really important that you do. Never make anything up, or guess what you don’t know. If a barrister or solicitor suggest answers to their own questions that aren’t true, don’t agree with them just to please them. The court really wants to know what you know, not what anyone else thinks or suggests.
Why do they keep asking me the same question?
You may be asked a question that you have already answered. This doesn’t mean that your first answer was wrong; it may just be to make sure the court understands what you saw or heard, or what happened to you. Just answer again.
Why don’t they think I’m telling the truth?
Try not to get angry or hurt if a question suggests that you are not telling the truth. Remember it is the job of the barrister or the solicitor to ‘test’ what you have to say, and to help the court understand what happened. Some questions might suggest that what you say at court is different from what you told the police. Don’t worry, just tell the truth.
What if they keep interrupting me while I’m talking?
You can say: “Excuse me, I haven’t finished talking yet.” The court really wants to hear what you say.
What if I make a mistake?
It’s okay – everyone makes mistakes. If you make a mistake, or if you forget to say something, tell the judge or magistrates. They will not be angry at anything you say.
It’s really embarrassing to talk about what happened
It’s not always easy to talk in front of strangers, and some questions might upset you, but try not to worry. The people in the court will understand. The judge or magistrates, and the barristers or solicitors will have heard evidence from other young witnesses before, and they know how hard it can be for you to talk about things which might upset you. Your witness supporter will be there for you too.