A new video link to court that let’s victims give evidence from a safe environment, has open this week in Staffordshire.
Alder Lodge video links mean that some of the most vulnerable witnesses and victims will be able to give evidence without having to enter a courtroom.
The facility, in Burton, aims to help reduce the anxiety, trauma and stress that many people experience when attended court.
The new scheme has received funding from Staffordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Matthew Ellis.
He said: “I have been working with the courts and support services to address the distress which victims face when giving evidence.
“This new facility is another step towards ensuring that victims and witnesses are truly at the heart of the criminal justice system.”
Speaking about opening the facility, Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner, Sue Arnold, said: “Victims have already made a brave step in coming forward so it’s crucial that the criminal justice system supports them, not cause them more distress.
“This new video link will be a lifeline to vulnerable people who understandably don’t want to face the ordeal of a courtroom, in a way that makes them feel secure.”
The Mayor of the Borough of East Staffordshire, Councillor Simon Gaskin, also attended the opening alongside the Lord-Lieutenant, Mr Ian Dudson and the High Sheriff of the County, Humphrey Scottt-Moncrieff.
The remote video link comes as part of a number of special measures available to vulnerable witnesses.
It includes the option of giving evidence from behind a screen via video link, from a different part of the court or via remote video link not within the court building.
Users of the facility will be met at Alder Lodge by an usher from the Crown Court, who will sit with them in the room whilst they give evidence.
The live link will enable barristers across the country to cross exam the witness, and jurors will be able to clearly see the witness on a screen.
There will also be a separate area within the remote video link suite for family and carers who accompany the witnesses.
The project has been developed through successful partnerships developed between the office of the Police and Crime Commissioner, Staffordshire Police, Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service and the Crown Prosecution Service.
Provided by Staffordshire Police and Crime Commissioner