The Child Sexual Offence Evidence Program aims to reduce the stress and trauma experienced by children and young people who are victims and prosecution witnesses in sexual offence cases.
The program makes the criminal justice process easier for children by pre-recording their evidence and providing witness intermediaries to assist them during police interview and at court.
It operates in Sydney and Newcastle District Courts, and Central Metropolitan, South West Metropolitan and Hunter Child Abuse Units.
Victims Services maintains the panel of witness intermediaries, including their training and accreditation.
We also assist with organising the communication assessment of child victims and prosecution witnesses in sexual offence cases. When the police or courts require a witness intermediary, we match the request with someone who has the appropriate skill set and qualifications to assist with the communication issues identified.
A witness intermediary is an accredited professional from one of five primary disciplines - speech pathology, social work, psychology, teaching or occupational therapy.
They are independent and impartial officers of the Court whose role is to assess the communication needs of child victims and prosecution witnesses - and inform police and the court of the best ways to communicate with them.
Witness intermediaries may be requested to assist with a police interview for children under 18 years of age.
In court, witness intermediaries are appointed by the Judge for all children under 16 years of age. For people 16 to 18 years old with communication difficulties, a witness intermediary may be appointed by the Judge or upon request.
18 Aug 2021
We acknowledge Aboriginal people as the First Nations Peoples of NSW and pay our respects to Elders past, present, and future.
Informed by lessons of the past, Department of Communities and Justice is improving how we work with Aboriginal people and communities. We listen and learn from the knowledge, strength and resilience of Stolen Generations Survivors, Aboriginal Elders and Aboriginal communities.
You can access our apology to the Stolen Generations.