The day of the trial
When you arrive at the court, you’ll need to go through security. Tell the security staff who you are and that you’re a witness or victim. Someone from the Citizens Advice Witness Service will take you to a waiting area if they are available.
Waiting to give evidence
If you’re a victim or prosecution witness, there will usually be a separate room where you can wait so you do not meet the defendant or their family and friends.
If there is not a separate area, speak to court staff - they can make sure you’re safe.
If anyone tries to intimidate you, tell the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), your solicitor or the court staff - they’ll report it to the police.
You might have to wait a long time before you’re asked to go into the courtroom to give evidence. You might not even have to go in at all, for example if the defendant changes their plea to guilty.
If you bring a child with you, make sure you also bring someone who can take care of them when you’re in the courtroom.
Help and support on the day
Someone from the Citizens Advice Witness Service will be at the court, and can:
- go with you when you give evidence
- support you on the day the verdict and sentence are decided if you’re in court
- listen to your concerns in private (but they cannot discuss details of the case)
You’ll also have someone who will translate or interpret the trial if you arranged it beforehand.
Young witnesses (under 18)
Talk to the police or child witness care officer if you have concerns about your child. For example, if they’ll need to take breaks or need any help giving evidence.
Read the full guidance on how to prepare your child for court and special measures that are available.
Young witnesses can get support and find out what to expect at court from:
- guidance for 5 to 11 year olds
- guidance for 12 to 17 year olds
- the Citizens Advice Witness Service
After you give evidence
Citizens Advice have more information about what happens after you’ve given evidence.