Information for Agencies
Helping achieve better outcomes...
by assistingÂ victims and witnesses of crime throughout their time at court.
Our roleÂ is to prepare and assistÂ policeÂ witnessesÂ giving evidence atÂ criminal hearings, so more positiveÂ outcomes can be achieved for both the Prosecution and their witnesses.
What Can VWCCS Do For Agencies?
VWCCS accepts referrals from various victims of crime agencies including police, prosecutors, Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP), organisations supporting victims of domestic violence (male and female), social workers and the general public.
We work with clients involved in criminal hearings held under the State jurisdiction of the Local, District, Supreme, Childrenâs and Coroners’ Courts of New South Wales, as well as criminal matters held under the Commonwealth jurisdiction.
To refer a client to VWCCS, telephone or email us. See ContactÂ UsÂ for details.
What Can VWCCS Do For Victims & Witnesses?
Our job is to be at court to support and assist victims and witnesses of crime who have been required to attend court by the police.
This might be as simple as providing someone with directions on how to locate their court or where to meet their Officer In Charge.Â For some witnesses, it can involve a lot more.
- Explain the court process, legal terminology and the role of the Prosecution witness.
- Provide information about victimsâ rights under the Charter of Victims Rights.
- Meet them at the Court and accompany them to one of the safe rooms VWCCS administers
- Liaise on behalf of the client with the Prosecutor and Police.
- Explain the serious consequences of discussing their evidence outside the Courtroom.
- Continue to provide support if the matter is adjourned and listed for another hearing date.
- Accompany them to any conferences related to the crime.
- Accompany themÂ to the courtroom, then remain with clients if they wish to stay in Court after they have given evidence, or until the defendant has left the court.
- Assist victims with their Victim Impact Statement.
- Provide information on services that may be able to assist with free counselling, compensation and other support.
What We Don't Do
VWCCS is not able to:
- Give legal advice.
- Discuss evidence with a witness or assist with giving evidence.
- Take notes in court.
- Speak during the court hearing, unless asked a question by the Judge or Magistrate.
- Fill in witness compensation and expense reimbursement forms.
About Our Volunteers
VWCCS volunteers has approximately 140 volunteers.
All our volunteers have:
- A NSW Working With Children Check â Volunteer Declaration
- A signed acknowledgement of VWCCS Policies and Procedures
Prior to commencing as a Court Support OfficerÂ Â all volunteers complete aÂ comprehensive induction and training program, including formal training, court observation and reflection, then court support work under the supervision of an experienced volunteer.
All volunteers are also offered at least four refresher training days a year. Court Support OfficersÂ Â must attend at least two of these days.
Volunteers can access formal debriefing as required.
VWCCS In The Press
âParramatta Court helpers expand roleâ
Parramatta Sun, 7 January 2015.
âSupport in court helps distraughtâ
by Matt Strand, Parramatta Advertiser, 22 October 2014.
âConfronting The Monster Withinâ
by Paul Sheehan, Sydney Morning Herald, 15 July 2013.
âPieta Thornton provides support as the founder of Victims and Witnesses of Crime Court Supportâ
by Lisa Herbertson, Parramatta Advertiser, 11 May 2014
“Red tape no match for saints”
by Paul Sheehan, Sydney Morning Herald, 19 September 2011