Emma has put her name to the NSPCC’s ‘Order In Court’ petition, which calls on the Government to make sure vulnerable young witnesses are able to give evidence from a safe location away from the courtroom so they do not have to face their abusers.
The petition demands that the Government establish at least one remote location for taking video evidence in each region of the UK so that the 21,000 children who give evidence in court each year can do so without going through the confusing and intimidating ordeal of giving evidence in a courtroom. At the moment 99% of child witnesses do not give evidence remotely, leading to incredible emotional strain.
Emma has previously blogged for the NSPCC’s campaign about how intimidating the courtroom can be for young witnesses, particularly victims. You can read her blog by clicking here. She has also called on the Victims Minister to improve training for judges and barristers in the House of Commons.
The NSPCC reports that just 250 of the 21,000 children who gave evidence last year were able to do so from a remote location. Those that were given the option of giving evidence outside the courtroom itself often still had to do so inside the court building, where they risked seeing their abuser. By contrast, prisoners were able to use remote video on 50,000 occasions.
Emma encourages anyone with an interest in protecting vulnerable witnesses and victims to sign the NSPCC’s petition and send a strong message to the Government that young people should be able to feel safe while giving evidence.
“Courtrooms are intimidating places for young people, particularly those who have to recount abuse they have suffered. Yet it is easier for prisoners to give evidence from a remote location than for young victims. This needs to change, and I hope constituents will show their support for this important campaign by signing the NSPCC’s petition.”