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Court Education for Young Witnesses: Evaluation of the Pilot Service in Aotearoa, New Zealand

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Abstract:

This article outlines the context and history of the development of the Court Education for Young Witnesses service for children who give evidence in the criminal court in New Zealand. A pilot programme in three courts was funded and implemented by the New Zealand Department for Courts in 2000 along with a two-year evaluation contracted by the then Department of Courts to the authors at the Institute of Public Policy at Auckland University of Technology. This article mostly focuses on the results of the evaluation, which informed revision of the training and materials for national implementation in 2004. Overall, the evaluation of the Court Education for Young Witnesses Pilot was positive. All stakeholders interviewed, including children, defence and prosecution lawyers, were positive about the initiative. Recommendations for improving the programme included reviewing the role of the victim advisers regarding education for defence witnesses; extending the training provided; improving quality assurance mechanisms; and clarifying who should be responsible for debriefing child witnesses. Some of these recommendations have been acted on, in particular regarding the training given to victim advisers.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1375/1321871042707179

Affiliations: Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand

Publication date: December 1, 2004

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