Here’s Anna’s story. She was the victim in a case of domestic abuse.
The offender had recently been charged, but because he had pleaded not guilty, Anna faced the prospect of having to attend Newcastle Crown Court to give evidence.
Northumbria Victim & Witness Service stepped in to offer Anna the support she needed to get through the criminal justice process. Having just been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, Anna was understandably very distressed and discussed retracting her statement to avoid attending court.
Her NVWS support officer then talked about the options available to her, including applying to the Crown Prosecution Service to give her evidence by a remote TV link, away from the court building. This would mean there was no risk of coming face to face with the defendant and causing further distress.
This option, known as special measures, was then granted. Anna even got the chance to visit the suite where she would give her evidence remotely ahead of time, allowing her to familiarise herself with the setting and calm her nerves.
Thanks to the support of her NVWS officer, Anna has even gained the confidence to read out her own victim impact statement to the court, to tell the court room how the crime has affected her.
This is a significant step forward for Anna and reflects that Anna is now beginning to regain her self-belief.