Consumer Advice

UK Crime Witnesses Offered More

Fri.22.May.2009 BST

While well over a third (38%) of Brits have seen a crime-taking place, 36% have not volunteered to act as a witness in court, according to a new report.

Thousands of prosecutions are going without vital testimony because eye-witnesses are deterred from attending court due to a lack of knowledge and understanding of what is required.

Many are scared to relay their account of events because they simply do not know enough about being a witness in court. Others are afraid of the thought of standing up in the courtroom, while some are even concerned they will receive third party threats.

The survey by Directgov reveals that out of those UK residents who have witnessed a crime, 36% have witnessed an assault take place. Under a quarter (23%) have witnessed a motoring offence while only 16% have witnessed a burglary.

However over a quarter (27%) of residents say they would not know where to turn for information about appearing as a witness to such crimes in court. Others admit they would rely solely on the advice of family and friends.

Eyewitness testimony is a critical part of the judicial process. To provide people with more information on going to court and the special protection methods available, the Government has set up a new online initiative to guide people through the process.

If you are going to court in the future, or know someone who is, watch video for a step-by-step guide.

For more information visit www.direct.gov.uk/en/CrimeJusticeAndTheLaw/Goingtocourt/DG_070444?CID=New_sound
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