Children's Court of Western Australia

Witnesses

Witnesses play a very important role at the Children's Court and the WA justice system.

Witnesses appearing in the Children's Court can be of any age. You may be called as a witness in a criminal matter or a protection proceeding. If you are appearing as a witness you should:

  • contact the court if you need to use an interpreter service
  • take any documents that are relevant to the case with you to court
  • take something to read while you wait to give your evidence (you may have to wait for a long time)
  • consult a solicitor or Legal Aid WA if you require legal advice
  • arrive on time and let the court officer know you are present

When you are called to give your evidence, the orderly will show you where to stand and when to sit down. You will be required to take an oath or affirmation, which is a promise you make to the court that you will tell the truth.

Sometimes witnesses do not want to face the accused in court and may give their evidence from another room or another court by closed-circuit television systems. If you require this service, contact the office listed on your witness summons.

When giving evidence:

  • try to stay calm and relaxed
  • let the judge or magistrate know if you need to take a break
  • speak clearly and slowly
  • listen carefully to the questions that the lawyers ask you
  • if you do not understand or cannot hear something, ask for it to be explained or repeated
  • be thorough (try not to leave anything out)
  • ask the judge or magistrate for advice if you need to

You may be able to claim expenses associated with your court attendance. Contact the registry staff for more information.

The Department of the Attorney General's Child Witness Service provides free emotional support and practical preparation for children under 18 years of age who give evidence in court in a criminal matter. The service does not provide services to accused children/young people.

The Child Witness Service can:

  • make an assessment of the child’s needs for giving evidence in court
  • support an application for special witness status so that the child can use  close circuit television
  • keep the child and family informed of all court appearances
  • familiarise the child with the layout of the courtroom, court procedures, the roles of the various court personnel and legal terminology
  • Provide support on the day the child gives their evidence, either in open court or by close circuit television.
  • Liaise with the Director of PP and the police to keep the child and family fully informed.

Referrals can be made by the police, the DPP or you can make a direct referral by phoning the co-ordinator on 9425 2850.

Last updated: 28-Oct-2013

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