A voice for the voiceless: Provision of registered intermediaries for children and vulnerable victims and witnesses
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Registered Intermediaries (RIs) are specialists in communication provided to children and vulnerable victims to enable them to have a voice in the criminal justice system.
This review considers the whole operation of the Witness Intermediary Scheme which is responsible for the provision of RIs as set out in the entitlements under the Victims’ Code.
Findings indicate that not all eligible vulnerable victims and witnesses are being offered a RI, there is inconsistent take-up of RIs across England and Wales, limited understanding of the role in the criminal justice system and variation in how vulnerability and eligibility for RIs is assessed.
Many RIs who took part in the review identified wide ranging deficiencies in the operation of the Witness Intermediary Scheme. Their concerns covered managerial support, training, mentoring, continuing professional development, quality assurance, supervision and late payments.
In the review the Victims’ Commissioner puts forward a number of recommendations to improve the provision of RIs. Recommendations include the development of a centralised national RI service with a national lead RI to feed into the policy and practice in the provision of RIs, and to represent RIs’ interests across the criminal justice system, as well as a fast track service for the youngest and most vulnerable of victims.