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0800 650 654 24/7 Victims Information Line

Child witnesses

Child witnesses (this includes children and young people) can get extra support and protection when they go to court. They can access the Court Education for Young Witnesses programme and give their evidence in different ways. There are also special legal rules to protect the privacy and identity of child witnesses.

Contact a victim advisor at the court on 0800 650 654 for more information about court support for child witnesses.

How do child witnesses give evidence?

The court victim advisor will talk about the different ways you can give evidence and will make arrangements with the officer in charge about how you are going to give your evidence.

There are three main ways you can give evidence to the court:

On the day of the hearing, the officer in charge or the court victim advisor can meet you and your family and whānau at court or outside the courthouse. They will take you to a separate waiting area to avoid meeting the defendant or their supporters. But you might still see them in and around the court.

As a witness, you will be asked questions about what happened or what you know about the crime. Before you give your evidence you will have to promise to tell the truth. You can have your parent or carer or other support person sitting near you when you give evidence.

If your first interview was videotaped, it will usually be played to the court. You will then be asked to answer any questions from the prosecutor and the defendant’s lawyer. The judge may also ask you some questions.

Court Education for Young Witnesses

Court Education for Young Witnesses is a programme offered by court victim advisors for all young witnesses in adult courts (except defendants). Contact a victim advisor to ask for this service.

If you have asked for Court Education for Young Witnesses, the court victim advisor will contact you about three weeks before the case goes to court. They will take you and your parent and caregiver through what happens in court, who sits where and who does what. They can also take you to visit the courtroom itself.

Special rules to protect privacy

Media are not allowed to report the name of a young witness, or any details that may identify them.

More information for child witnesses

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