Evidence given by children
A child of any age can give evidence in court. This will undoubtedly be a stressful process for the child. The advice below may help explain what will happen.
How the process works
A child must attend court if they have been summoned, but if the child is under the age of 14 they will not have to give an oath. Before the hearing the parent/guardian should be informed of all the details of the proceedings and in return should let the police know of any special needs the child might have. The child will also be told what will happen in court. It is up to the parent and child whether the parent attends court with the child.
There are special measures in place to protect children giving evidence; these include not having to see the defendant, being able to give evidence by a video link and the removal of wigs and gowns in court. If the defendant is found not guilty then the police can continue to provide protection for the child if the parent believes that the child is at risk. If the defendant is found guilty and they are sent to prison, they will not be allowed to contact the child.
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