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New courtroom protections for vulnerable victims available nationwide

The Victims' Commissioner welcomes the national rollout of pre-recorded cross-examination (Section 28).

New technology which spares vulnerable victims and witnesses the trauma of attending court is now available in every Crown Court across England and Wales.

It allows the likes of children or those who suffer from a debilitating condition to have their cross-examination video-recorded and played during the trial. The recording takes place as close to the time of the offence as possible in order to help memory recall and reduce the stress of giving evidence in a courtroom setting, which many find intimidating.

Dame Vera Baird QC, Victims’ Commissioner for England and Wales said:

“I very much welcome this national roll-out, ensuring more vulnerable victims and witnesses have the option to pre-record their evidence. Giving evidence and being cross-examined in court can be a distressing and re-traumatising experience. This is especially true for a child or a vulnerable witness. This roll-out will enable more victims to put their experiences behind them sooner, rather than wait in anticipation for the trial which may be many months away.

I congratulate HMCTS and the Ministry of Justice in driving this forward and being so responsive. This has the potential to transform the criminal justice experience for so many vulnerable victims.”

See the government press release.