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Funding Will Help Vulnerable People Give Evidence

30th March 2015

Support for children and vulnerable adults giving evidence in criminal proceedings will be maximised thanks to funding secured by Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Vera Baird.

Commissioner Baird has had over £150,000 approved following an application to the Police Innovation Fund. The money will be used to change current practices for evidence giving, allowing vulnerable adult and child victims or witnesses to instead do this at sites outside the courts that are more suitable for them.

It’s hoped allowing evidence to be given away from a court building will significantly reduce the stress and trauma on a victim or witness and greatly improve the quality of information presented to the court.

Mrs Baird said: “It’s widely recognised that the tradition and formality of the court environment can be a significant barrier to either attending court or on the victim or witness being able to give their best evidence.

“With the help of this funding, we aim to fundamentally change this historic and outdated practice to provide a truly victim focused approach by letting evidence be given away from the court building.

“This may be in another building, such as a premises belonging to an organisation where the person is already receiving support, or in some cases, the person’s home, but there are also opportunities for ‘pop up’ portable facilities to be used.

“Wherever the location, removing the restrictions will enable the evidence giving process to be completed from the most appropriate site.

“This new approach will have significant benefit across not only the police service but also the criminal justice system.”