Help at court
Witness Care Unit (WCU)
If the ‘Crown Prosecution Service’ decides that there is enough evidence for the case to go to court, you will be contacted by an officer from the Hertfordshire Witness Care unit (WCU). Their role is to advise you of when the trial is due to take place and notify you of any changes. They will also ensure that any special requirements you have are advised to the court.
Sometimes there is a need for special measures to be put in place to help witnesses to be able to give evidence in court. This can happen if the witness is under 18 years of age, has a disability, or is vulnerable or intimidated. There are a range of special measures that can be used, for example, a screen can be erected between the witness and the defendant, or evidence can be delivered via a video link from outside the courtroom.
The Witness Service is a free service run by Citizens Advice that offers support before and during a trial. It’s only natural to have questions about what will happen during the trial and they will be on-hand to explain things to you and put your mind at rest. You will also have the support of your Beacon case manager
Often, it’s the unknown that can be a bit daunting. Most people don’t see in the inside of a court room unless they have been called as a witness or done jury service. Some people find it helpful to request a visit to the court ahead of the trial date, so it’s familiar and less intimidating on the day. Your Witness Service officer can help to organise this, they can also make any special arrangements for those who need an interpreter, are disabled or have difficulty getting to the court.
You will be met by the Witness Service on the day you attend court who will provide you with information, guidance and support. If you are giving evidence, they will make sure you have a copy of your statement ready and help you to prepare.