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Select a link below for more information about the role of the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) and the Witness Assistance Service (WAS).
The ODPP is the independent prosecuting authority of the State Government and prosecutes all serious criminal offences in NSW. The ODPP is responsible to the Attorney General for the functions of the Office.
The ODPP prosecutes in accordance with the prosecution guidelines that can be found on the ODPP website.
The ODPP does not investigate crime; this is the role of police. The Office advises the police which cases can be prosecuted before the courts and then carries out the prosecution in those cases.
The ODPP lawyers appear in criminal cases in the Local, District and Supreme Courts. The ODPP WAS provides information, support and assistance to victims of crime and witnesses in cases being prosecuted by the Office.
The ODPP is committed to keeping victims of crime informed of the conduct of the case, consulting with you in relation to the prosecution of the crime, and assisting you throughout the prosecution.
The ODPP represents the State, not individual victims. Therefore the ODPP, while considering your views and while recognising the important role you may play as a witness for the prosecution, has to make decisions in the general public interest.
When the accused is charged with a serious criminal offence by the police, the case is referred by the police to the ODPP.
The ODPP will review the case to see whether there is sufficient evidence to prosecute in the courts.
If the ODPP decides that the case should not proceed because there is insufficient evidence in the case or for other reasons, this will be communicated to the victim.
Less serious charges are heard in the Local Court before a Magistrate. These cases are usually prosecuted by a police prosecutor and not the ODPP.
More serious matters are heard in the District or Supreme Courts before a Judge and usually a jury.
If you are the victim of the crime or the family of the victim, you are likely to have contact with a number of people from the ODPP. These may include:
The ODPP is a large organisation and you may have a number of different people involved in the case at different stages of the process.
The WAS is part of the ODPP and works closely with other organisations to assist victims and witnesses.
There are Witness Assistance Officers based in each ODPP office around New South Wales. There are Aboriginal WAS Officers who can assist indigenous victims and witnesses. The Witness Assistance Service provides a service to both adults and children.
Priority is given to:
The Witness Assistance Service aims to assist victims and witnesses in the following ways:
WAS Officers can help people get ready for court by:
WAS also refers to other appropriate services for court preparation and support.After the trial or hearing:
You can contact the Witness Assistance Service (WAS) on: Sydney: (02) 9285 2502 Outside Sydney: 1800 814 534 Toll free