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 can also have the support of your Beacon Support Worker before and after a trial if engaging with our service.
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. The Witness Service will work with you to organise this, and they conduct needs assessments to ensure that court are aware of any special arrangements you require.
You will be met by the Witness Service on the day you attend court who will provide you with information, guidance, and support.. They can go into court with you and provide updates throughout the day.