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Check if you can get extra help giving evidence

This advice applies to England

While you’re giving evidence in court, you might be able to get extra help if:

  • you’re under 18 - read more about getting help as a young witness
  • you’re disabled
  • you have mental health problems
  • you’re afraid to give evidence because you’re being intimidated
  • you’re the victim of domestic abuse or a sexual offence
  • you’ve witnessed a crime involving a gun or knife

If the court decides you need special help giving evidence, they can arrange for:

  • you to sit behind a screen so the defendant can’t see you
  • you to give evidence from outside the courtroom by video link
  • lawyers and judges to take off their wigs and gowns
  • the public to leave the courtroom, if the case is about a sexual offence
  • someone to sit with you in court or the video link room to help you give evidence

If you’re not sure whether you can get special help giving evidence, talk to whoever asked you to go to court. They’ll want to make sure you’re comfortable so you give accurate evidence on the day.

Get emotional and practical help going to court as a witness

You can get help from the Witness Service before, during and after the trial.

Fill in the contact form or call 0300 332 1000 and someone will contact you within 2 working days. You can also ask the police, witness care officer or the lawyer who asked you to give evidence to refer you to the Witness Service.

A Witness Service volunteer might be able to:

  • come to your home or somewhere you feel comfortable to discuss your needs
  • help you prepare for the trial and talk you through what will happen
  • organise a visit to the court before the trial
  • support you giving evidence on the day
  • find you help after the trial if you want it, for example counselling