Victim Support Schemes: Children

Home Department written question – answered on 5th March 2007.

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Photo of Sally Keeble Sally Keeble Labour, Northampton North

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department in which constituencies in the UK young witness support is available to children who appear in court; and how much his Department spent on providing such services in each of the last five years.

Photo of Gerry Sutcliffe Gerry Sutcliffe The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department

The Government give Victim Support an annual grant to run the community service to support victims of crime and a witness service in every Crown court, magistrates court and youth court. The current grant is £30 million, including £2 million which is ring-fenced to provide enhanced services for vulnerable and intimidated witnesses, including children.

Grant (£ million)
2001-02 25.05
2002-03 29.3
2003-04 30
2004-05 30
2005-06 30

Since 2004 we have set up witness care units in all areas of England and Wales, providing tailored support for witnesses, including children and their parents or carers, once a charge is made. The units are run jointly by the Crown Prosecution Service and the police. The total funding allocated to the project over the last three years was £36 million.

Under the Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act 1999, we introduced special measures, such as screens and video links, to make the experience of giving evidence less difficult for children and other vulnerable and intimidated witnesses.

We have also provided a Young Witness Pack and other resources, specifically for young witnesses, and are implementing a programme for improvement of facilities for young witnesses in court buildings.

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