Offences against Children

Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 10th November 2016.

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Photo of Pauline Latham Pauline Latham Conservative, Mid Derbyshire

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps she is taking to limit the potential re-traumatisation of vulnerable 16 and 17 year old victims of sexual abuse or exploitation in the criminal justice system.

Photo of Oliver Heald Oliver Heald The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice

The Government is committed to making sure that vulnerable and intimidated victims and witnesses get the support they need and have the confidence to come forward. A range of measures already exist to help reduce their anxiety, including giving evidence through live-link to the courtroom from a different room in the court, or away from the court building altogether, and the use of a Registered Intermediary. We doubled the number of Registered Intermediaries at the end of 2015 to increase the number available to help vulnerable and intimidated victims and witnesses give evidence.

We are also rolling out recorded pre-trial cross-examination in the Crown Courts from next year so that vulnerable witnesses do not have to give their evidence at trial. In addition to this, we are requiring publicly-funded advocates in sexual offences cases to undertake specialist training on working with vulnerable victims and witnesses.

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