The ODPP Witness Assistance Service

The ODPP has a Witness Assistance Service (WAS) to assist and support both victims of crime and vulnerable prosecution witnesses.

The main aims of the WAS are to minimise stress and trauma that might result from being involved in the legal process and to enable witnesses to give their evidence in court to the best of their ability.

Services provided for victims and witnesses

The Witness Assistance Service assists victims and witnesses in the following ways:

  • Providing information about the legal process
  • Discussing with people their needs and requirements
  • Giving information about other services that might be able to help
  • Communicating with the lawyer handling the case
  • Organising and attending meetings with lawyers when necessary
  • Providing information about victims' rights and special provisions for giving evidence
  • Supporting victims and witnesses throughout the prosecution.

Getting ready for court

WAS Officers can help witnesses get ready for court by:

  • Preparing witnesses, including children, for giving evidence in court
  • Helping witnesses understand their role and what to expect at court
  • Liaising with prosecution lawyers about your needs
  • Arranging a visit to a court and other facilities to become familiar with the environment
  • Finding ways of coping with coming to court and with being a witness
  • Arranging support for victims who are giving evidence in court
  • Preparing people for court outcomes, such as a verdict of not guilty.

WAS has a range or resources to help prepare victims for court

WAS can also refer victims of crimes and their families to other appropriate services for court preparation and ongoing support.

After the trial or hearing

WAS can provide an opportunity to talk about the experience of the court process and the final outcome, including the verdict and sentence.
If the accused has been found guilty, WAS can provide information about Victim Impact Statements and the sentencing process.

After sentencing, WAS can give information about Victims Registers.

Priorities

WAS provides a service to both adults and children who have matters prosecuted by the ODPP..

Priority is given to:

  • Victims of sexual assault and domestic and family violence
  • Family members of the deceased in driving or homicide cases
  • Children and young people under the age of 18 years
  • People with a disability
  • People who are older or frail aged
  • People with history of mental health concerns
  • People from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds
  • People who are experiencing particular trauma difficulties about coming to court
  • People who identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander. There are three Aboriginal WAS Officers who cover all regions of NSW.
About the ODPP Witness Assistance Service