If someone is arrested and charged, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) will decide whether to prosecute and take your case to court. The Crown Prosecution Service is responsible for prosecuting criminal cases that have been investigated by the police.
If your case goes to court, you will be contacted before the trial by the Witness Care Unit. They will be your single point of contact from then on. The Witness Care Unit takes care of victims and witnesses from their first appearance in court until the conclusion of the case. They inform witnesses about the progress of their case, make any arrangements for witnesses going to court, and offer support. You will be assigned a Witness Care Officer who will undertake a needs assessment with you if you are asked to attend court to give evidence. This needs assessment will ensure you receive all the support you are entitled to.
Some witnesses who feel intimidated or vulnerable, because they are young or disabled for example, may need help giving evidence. In these cases, witnesses may be entitled to ‘special measures’. This could involve placing a screen between the witness box and the defendant, giving evidence with the help of a specialist or giving evidence using the network of live link facilities in the county based away from the court buildings.
Going to court as a witness
The Ministry of Justice has produced a series of videos to help and advise victims and witnesses, who may have been asked to give evidence in a court case. The Introductory video can be found below:
About the court process
For more information about the court process and how the decision to prosecute is made:
- Go to the Your CPS section on the Crown Prosecution Service website
- Order the leaflet “The decision to prosecute” by calling 020 7796 8442
- Go to the victims and witnesses of crime section on DirectGov for general information.
For more videos like these, visit the Ministry of Justice's YouTube channel.