PACT Support for children and teens

PACT’s Child Witness Support Program provides impartial, empathetic and court approved support for children and young people under the age of 18 who are required to give evidence in criminal courts, either as victims of, or witnesses to, a crime.

Child PACT support

The entire process from arrest to trial can take 6 months to more than 2 years and along the way there will often be unexpected delays.

Our justice system is designed to ensure fairness – innocent until proven guilty – and this is an essential part of our country’s identity. But, this doesn’t make it any less frustrating for victims, witnesses and their families who are going through the justice journey.

This is why PACT exists! We have an important role to play in supporting children and young people step-by-step through the entire process.

Here’s how PACT supports victims and witnesses step-by-step through their legal journey:

1. PACT Support Requested 

In cases involving children and young people, once an arrest is made, the police officer refers victims or witnesses under the age of 18 (or vulnerable adult witnesses) to PACT. We match the victim with a suitable PACT Support Person to guide them through their legal journey.

2. Welcome Pack Sent

We send a welcome pack to new clients to introduce our services and give them an overview of the court system and what they can expect, reducing anxiety and promoting wellbeing from the beginning.

3. Call from Support Person

The PACT Support Person calls the victim and their family for an introduction. They give an overview of our support service and the court process, answer questions and organise a time to meet face-to-face.

4. Face-to-face Meeting

The PACT Support Person meets with the child and carer at their home, park or local venue to build rapport and trust with the child, and offer more in-depth information.

5. Regular Check-Ins

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

6. Viewing of Police Statement

The PACT Support Person sits with the child for support and to make sure they concentrate and focus as they watch a recording of their original police statement. This is an important step in ensuring the child remembers what they said months earlier, 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

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

9. Day of Court

PACT shows the child into vulnerable witness areas using a secure entrance, also distracting 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

The PACT Support Person sits next to the child for support as they give their evidence 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 offer to sit alongside them to reduce the strain of giving evidence.

12. Moving On

PACT helps the child and their carer to be aware of their rights, stay up to date on the offender’s release via the Victims' Register and seek compensation for their loss.

*It’s important to remember that every case is unique; not everyone will experience all of these steps or in this order. We are committed to offering a specialised support service to best meet the needs of each individual.

Discover more about PACT:

Our People

Meet PACT’s dedicated staff and Board of Directors

Our imPACT

See the imPACT we’re having on more than 1,800 children every year across Queensland

Our team of PACT Support Persons

Learn about our 100+ strong volunteer team making an imPACT