Special measures are designed to make sure witnesses who are vulnerable, or who may feel intimidated, are able to give the best possible evidence before the court.
The police and Crown Prosecution Service will apply to the court for special measures on your behalf if they believe you will benefit from them. The defence is also given an opportunity to put any views they have on the issue forward, and then the Court makes the final decision about whether the request for special measures will be granted.
The measures which can be applied for include:
Screens can be put up in court to screen you from the defendant, so they will not be able to see you while you give your evidence.
A live TV link can be used during the trial to allow you to give evidence from another room within the court house, or a suitable location outside it.
Evidence given in private
Court hearings are held in public, but this measure would mean all members of the public would be asked to leave the court room while your evidence is heard.
Removal of wigs and gown
This option is often taken if a witness is young, and sees the Judge and barristers remove their wigs and gowns to create a less formal environment in court.
Video recorded interview as Evidence in Chief
There are certain circumstances where the police will obtain your account of what happened by a video interview, as oppose to taking a written statement.
The prosecution can then apply for this video to be used in place of you physically giving evidence in court.
Having an intermediary present
If you need help to understand the questions when you are being interviewed or giving evidence, an intermediary can be present. Their job will be to explain the questions and answers in order to help you understand, but without changing the substance of the evidence.
In certain circumstances, these may be permitted to help a witness give evidence to the court. This could include using an interpreter or someone to communicate for you, or it might cover the use of a communications aid or technique. However, whatever aid is used must be independently verified and understood by the court.
For more information, speak to the officer in your case, your Witness Care Officer or other point of contact