Guide

Being a witness at court

Last updated: 29 June 2017

Help and support

There are lots of people and organisations who can give you information about the court process and where to find support and advice about giving evidence.

Victim Support Scotland

Offers help to victims and witnesses of crime and their families – even if there is no court case.

The Witness Service

Witness Service volunteers are in every High Court and Sheriff Court to help and support witnesses and their families involved with criminal cases. You may have spoken to someone from the Witness Service on the phone or met them during a visit to court before the case started.

The police

If you've given a statement to the police they may be able to help you find out what's happening with a case and answer any questions. They'll be in the court to make sure everyone is well-behaved and safe. They'll take any allegations of witness harassment or intimidation seriously.

The Procurator Fiscal

They may have asked you to be a witness to a criminal court case by sending you a letter – called a citation – along with a booklet explaining what will happen. You might already have spoken with the Procurator Fiscal when they asked you questions about your evidence.

Victim Information and Advice (VIA)

They work with the Procurator Fiscal to give information and advice to most victims of crime and some prosecution witnesses in certain types of cases. If VIA is involved with your case, they may have already sent you a letter and leaflets about the court process.

A lawyer

If it's a lawyer that asked you to be a witness, they can answer your questions and arrange any support you need.

The Children's Reporter

You may have already spoken with the Children's Reporter if they asked you to be a witness. They can answer your questions and arrange any support you need.

A social worker

Social workers assist people who need extra help and supervision. They can arrange the support you need.

Help from your carer or support worker

Your carer or support worker can help if you're asked to be a witness and you're not sure what to do.

This can be:

  • someone in your family
  • a friend
  • someone who helps you day-to-day

Voluntary organisations

You might also already be in contact with another support organisation like Scottish Women's Aid or Rape Crisis Scotland, a housing advice centre or a trade union.

You might also be eligible for extra help and support – called special measures – because of your circumstances or the nature of your evidence.

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Being a witness at court
Help and support