People often report feeling overwhelmed and intimated about going to court and having to face an offender. The Victim Support Unit provides clients with The Department of Justice booklet “The Justice Journey’ and staff conduct court preparation by explaining the different roles of court personal and explaining the process of Evidence in Chief and Cross Examination.
Many of our clients come to us unaware that they can ask for a break while giving evidence, or ask for the question to be repeated if they do not understand what is being asked. We believe it is essential to provide adequate court preparation and support to people who are required to give evidence.
Reliving a traumatic event while having to give evidence in court is extremely stressful, and can bring up many different emotions. Staff work with clients on practical breathing techniques and different strategies that can be used while in the witness box, allowing them to stay focused on the cognitive process as opposed to letting the emotional part of the brain take over.
The Victim Support Unit staff are not allowed to read client’s police statements and do not coach clients on what to say when giving evidence.
VOCAL provides services to the entire Hunter Region with a limited number of staff. Therefore we are dependent upon volunteers for the provision of many of our services, such as court support. If you are interested in training to become a court companion, please complete the below form.