The Identification and Protection of Vulnerable and Intimidated Witnesses in England and Wales

Roger Evans, Liverpool John Moores University
Andrew Sanders, Manchester University
Jenny Turtle, British Market Research Bureau

A key aim of the Criminal Justice Strategic Plan 1999-2000 for England and Wales criminal justice system is 'to meet the needs of victims, witnesses and jurors within the system'. The Home Office report Speaking up for Justice recognises that vulnerable and intimidated witnesses in particular may have special needs. It sets out 78 recommendations to improve their treatment within the CJS and to enable them to give best evidence in criminal proceedings. This paper reports work in progress on a Home Office funded research project to evaluate special measures to assist vulnerable and intimidated witnesses and to survey their level of satisfaction. One main component of the research consists of a national survey of the police, the crown prosecution service, victims support and court witness service co-ordinators and court managers in order to ascertain their views on the difficulties they may have in identifying vulnerable and intimiated witnesses and the effectiveness of the services that they provide. The national survey is used to select four areas for more detailed study before and after the implementation of the special measures. The other main component of the research consists of a national survey of the level of satisfaction of vulnerable and intimidated witnesses with the treatment that they have received.

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Updated 05/20/2006