The ODPP's Witness Assistance Service

Justice cannot be done without the evidence of witnesses, but having to re-live serious criminal events in court and be part of a long legal process can cause great anxiety and distress. For some witnesses, it can be re-traumatising. 

The ODPP set up its Witness Assistance Service (WAS) more than 20 years ago to provide vulnerable witnesses for the prosecution (which includes victims) with support and information throughout this time.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander WAS officers can provide culturally appropriate support across the State to witnesses who identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander.

 

Who we are and what we do

The ODPP's Witness Assistance Service (WAS) provides a range of support services and information to vulnerable witnesses to reduce as much as possible the extra stress of being involved in a serious legal matter.

If you a vulnerable witness and are called to court, this includes making sure you know what to expect on the day, so you are able to give your evidence as well as you can.

WAS officers are social workers, psychologists or counsellors who understand both trauma and how the criminal justice system works. 

As well as helping you feel ready to give evidence, we can keep you updated on the progress of the court case you’re involved in, refer you to other services, and help you in other ways (see How we can support you below).

We are based in the ODPP’s offices in Sydney and throughout regional NSW.

WAS’s involvement finishes when a court matter ends. We can then refer you to on-going community services.

WAS officers are not lawyers, so can't give legal advice.