I have questions - who do I ask?
It is helpful for you to understand what to expect in the court, to allay concerns and worries you have.
There are lots of people who can help you get ready for court, including:
In Local Court matters - Police and police prosecutors
Where the ODPP is prosecuting - the Witness Assistance Service (WAS) and the prosecutors at the ODPP
Mission Australia Court Support Service (mainly Sydney cases)
In cases of Domestic Violence - Women's Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Services
Community based victims support agencies such as Enough is Enough, Victims of Crime Assistance League (VOCAL)
Counsellors for victims of sexual assault
Counsellors from government and non-government agencies
For people with a cognitive disability - the Criminal Justice Support Network
You can find out more about services available by phoning the Victims Access Line on 1800 633 063 or going to the Help and support contacts page.
Most people only know about court from what they have seen on TV or in the movies but what happens in real courts in Australia is very different. It can help to find out about how the system really works.
If you have to go to court as a witness you may be feeling worried and not know what to expect. The formality and the legal language can be confusing. It might help you feel more comfortable about going to court if you know what everyone in court does, what the courtroom looks like, how everyone talks and behaves, what you need to take and what your job as a witness is. This is called court preparation.
It is natural to feel nervous about going to court. Courthouses are often large and old, and you may feel uncomfortable in the courtroom environment as it may be a new experience for you. You might feel anxious about giving evidence in front of the accused and other people you do not know. The sooner you find out about what court is really like, the less anxious you may feel. You may have commitments like work and study or have other important things happening in your life but it is better not to leave your court preparation until the last minute.