OUR SERVICES

Child Witness Support Program

PACT’s Child Witness Support Program provides impartial, empathetic and court approved support for children and young people who are required to give evidence in criminal courts, either as victims of, or witnesses to, a crime. We recruit and provide ongoing support and training for our Child Witness Support Volunteers who give unbiased information to the child and their carers about legal proceedings, preparing them for, and supporting them throughout, the court process.

1. REFERRAL 

Once an arrest is made, the Police officer makes a referral to PACT.

  2. INITIAL INTRODUCTION BY PHONE

PACT contacts the parent/carer and gives an overview of the support service and court process.

3. REGULAR UPDATES 

With the court process often taking between 6 - 24 months, PACT maintains regular contact via phone, email and text.

4. PRE-INDICTMENT CONFERENCE

As a prosecutor begins preparing the evidence, PACT supports the child as they meet the prosecutor and go through their evidence.

5. FACE TO FACE MEETING WITH CHILD AND CARER 

PACT meets with the child and carer and parent, normally at their home, to build trust with the child and offer more in-depth information.

6. VIEWING OF INITIAL EVIDENCE ('93A')

PACT supports the child and ensures they concentrate and focus as they watch a recording of their initial statement to the police, as part of their evidence preparation.

7. PROSECUTOR'S CONFERENCE 

We support the child during the meeting with the prosecutor as they review the facts, evidence and witness preparation.

  8. COURT TOUR

To reduce anxiety, children are given a tour of the court building and pre-recording room before their actual day in court.

9. GETTING TO COURT  

PACT escorts the child into vulnerable witness areas using secure entrances, also entertaining the child as they nervously wait to give evidence. Encouraging, supporting and repeating key information, we reduce anxiety by supporting the child as they wait to give evidence.

  10. PRE-RECORDING OF EVIDENCE

Sitting next to the child, PACT supports the child as they speak to the judge, prosecutor and defence counsel over a video link.

11. TRIAL 

Occasionally a child or special witness is required to give evidence in the courtroom from the witness box. In these cases we will offer support alongside the child, also requesting screens and/or to clear the gallery to reduce the strain of giving evidence.

How we support children and their families

PACT’s Child Witness Support Program provides impartial, empathetic and court approved support for children and young people who are required to give evidence in criminal courts, either as victims of, or witnesses to, a crime. We recruit and provide ongoing support and training for our Child Witness Support Volunteers who give unbiased information to the child and their carers about legal proceedings, preparing them for, and supporting them throughout, the court process.

PACT supports child witnesses by:

Providing Education and Information
Providing information on legal and court processes, explaining the key stages, events and activities to children and their carers.

Empowering Children
PACT works with children to build their confidence, reduce anxiety and minimise the trauma associated with stressful situations like giving evidence in Court.

Supporting the Child as they Prepare to Give Evidence
PACT supports child witnesses as they view their statements and the evidence provided during the police investigation, as well as when they meet the prosecutor.

Supporting the Child as they Give Evidence
PACT provides support as children attend court and give their evidence, including being with the children as they give video testimony.

How to access PACT services

PACT’s Child Witness Support Program is open to anyone via our online referral form.

Referrals are also generally received from the Queensland Police Service or the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions as well as teachers, community organisations and families who may also refer children, with the family's consent. Once PACT receives the referral, we allocate the case to one of our Child Witness Support Volunteers who will be in touch with the family.