Delyn MP David Hanson, has backed a campaign calling for better treatment of young victims and witnesses of crime.
The NSPCC has found that thousands of child abuse victims are being left frightened, depressed and even suicidal after giving evidence in court – 25 years after a major government inquiry said they should never be forced to do so.
‘The Order in Court’ campaign is calling for improved measures to reduce the distress that children feel when participating in criminal proceedings.
With 99% of children still having to give evidence from a court building, the charity is calling for wider availability of remote sites for children to give their evidence via video-link.
Delyn MP David Hanson said:
“I have been contacted by a number of NSPCC supporters from Flintshire about this important issue, and like them, I believe that it’s crucial that young victims and witnesses – who have often experienced horrific crimes – are given the highest possible level of support.
“Whilst there has been progress in this area over recent years, there is still much more we can do to support child victims and witnesses and I have raised this issue with the Victims Minister.”
NSPCC Chief Executive Peter Wanless said:
“It’s criminal that after a quarter of a century, children are still being subjected to harrowing experiences in court to get the justice they deserve. Surely the system should be making every effort to ensure this is not the terrifying ordeal many experience. If this is the view that children have of the court experience it’s likely to discourage others who have suffered to come forward.
“We’re grateful to David Hanson MP for supporting the campaign and for raising this important issue with the Minister.”
The Order in Court campaign is also calling for child victims and witnesses to have greater access to Registered Intermediaries – independent officers of the court who play an important role in explaining complicated legal jargon to children giving evidence – and compulsory training for lawyers and barristers working on particular cases involving child victims to prevent “brutal” court cross-examination.
More information about the campaign is available at www.nspcc.org.uk/orderincourt