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 involves the early pre-recording of evidence to reduce the time spent in court and addresses their communication needs by providing witness intermediaries. It operates in Sydney and Newcastle District Courts, and Central Metropolitan, South West Metropolitan and Hunter Child Abuse Units.
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 complainants and prosecution witnesses - and inform police and the court of the best ways to communicate with them.
Before the police interview, witness intermediaries meet with children to assess how they communicate and identify what might help communication during the police interview.
Witness intermediaries advise police on the best ways to communicate with children during the police interview. They can be present during the police interview to assist communication.
Witness intermediaries may be requested by Police to assist with an interview.
A witness intermediary may be required:
Victims Services maintains the panel of witness intermediaries, including their training and accreditation.
When police request a witness intermediary, we match the request with a witness intermediary who has the right skills and qualifications to assist the child.
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.