Volunteers sought to help court witnesses

By Chris Betteley in Local People

A NEW service in Ceredigion which supports witnesses at home before trial is looking to recruit volunteers.

The most vulnerable witnesses in Ceredigion can now get extra support which starts before they even set foot in court, through the Citizens Advice Witness Service which helps both prosecution and defence witnesses with the process.

During visits a Witness Service volunteer or staff member talks the witness through what they should expect on the day of the trial, as well as their rights, who will be in court, and the reasons that a trial might not go ahead.

The witness then has the option to visit the court building before the trial, and the same volunteer or staff member will support the witness when they attend court to give evidence.

More volunteers are now needed to take part in delivering the outreach service, and the Witness Service in Ceredigion is calling on empathetic people to come forward to be trained as Outreach volunteers.

Karen Manley, team leader (volunteer development) of the Citizens Advice Witness Service, said: “Taking part in a court case can be a daunting experience and we know witnesses value speaking to someone in person about what to expect before a trial starts - but it can be difficult for them to come to the court building for this.

“Our outreach service will see a dedicated staff member or volunteer supporting the most vulnerable through every step of the process, beginning with a home visit."

People interested in volunteering for the Witness Service can get in touch on 07880 204309, by e-mail to karen.manley@citizensadvice.org.uk or philip.gibson@citizensadvice.org.uk, or visit the Citizens Advice website.

See this week’s south editions for the full story, in shops and online tomorrow

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