FOI request finds video links are not available in one third of police force areas meaning children are forced to potentially face abuser in court
The NSPCC has renewed its call for children to be able to give their evidence from a location away from court.
The children’s charity has found that while many police force areas do not have remote video link facilities located away from court buildings, the few that do have rarely used them.
Peter Wanless, CEO of the NSPCC, said: “Children have to be tremendously brave to be a witness against someone who has abused them – something that would be daunting even for an adult.
“We must make sure they have as much support as possible when giving evidence. An essential part of this is allowing them to do so where and when they are likely to feel comfortable and confident.
The charity conducted a Freedom of Information request which revealed that victims of child abuse face a postcode lottery when getting help to give evidence against offenders.
One third of the police forces who responded said that they do not have ‘remote video links,’ which could potentially force children to undergo the ordeal of bumping into their abuser at court.
Thirty four police forces responded to the FOI request which demonstrated the postcode lottery across England and Wales. Of these forces:
The charity’s Order in Court campaign has been putting pressure on government to ensure that the justice system is more child-friendly when it comes to giving evidence against offenders.
The campaign calls for:
“Some courts and police forces are making a big effort to ease the burden for child witnesses but these figures show there is still some way to go,” added Wanless.
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