Ann Coffey MP has joined with the NSPCC to present a petition to 10 Downing Street, calling for the Government to ensure all child abuse victims are able to give court evidence via a remote video link.
Ann supports the NSPCC’s “Order in Court” campaign, which aims to reduce the distress which children experience when appearing as a witness in court. She recently moved amendments to legislation in Parliament calling for better support for child witnesses*. Children who have to give evidence in abuse cases find the experience traumatic as they have to face aggressive cross examination by defence barristers which causes them to relive the distress of the original offence.
A remote video link site is a designated place away from the courtroom which young witnesses can give evidence from. Currently only three police forces in England and Wales have this facility, but Greater Manchester will soon join them, as the Police and Crime Commissioner for our region has chosen to spend some of their allocated budget on opening a remote link site.
Ann Coffey said:
“The NSPCC has done some fantastic work as part of their ‘Order in Court’ campaign, and I was proud to join with them and young people they work with when they presented their e-petition to number 10 Downing Street last week.
“The NSPCC research highlights how difficult children find it to give evidence in court, with half of young witnesses experiencing stress symptoms ranging from sleeping and eating problems to self-harming. I am delighted that children in Greater Manchester will soon have a designated site out of court for children to give their evidence, but we need more of these remote sites across the country. I will continue to campaign in Parliament to support vulnerable child witnesses.”