Where we are up to
Work is underway to enhance the Child Witness Service program so Aboriginal clients are supported in a way that is culturally appropriate and easily accessible.
The Child Witness Service is a program within the Department of Justice and Community Safety, designed to assist children and young people who are going to be called to give evidence at Court about a violent crime. The Service helps children and young people prepare for 'giving evidence' because it can be a very stressful experience. Children and young people give their evidence from a remote witness room, rather than in person in the Court. The Service operates at all Courts across Victoria and it is independent from police and prosecutions. After the police have laid charges if a child or young person (under 18 years at the time charges were laid) is identified as a witness the police will, with consent, make a referral to the Service. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people do occasionally use the Service but it is important to ensure that Aboriginal communities know the Service is available and that the Service is culturally appropriate and welcoming to Aboriginal people.