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court case

hi sam,

i have a case going on at the moment for sexual assault from my mums ex boyfriend,

my dad i was told a few weeks ago that it might be going to court, since then i have been acting up at school.

my dad got a call from CPS and he thinks it was from the crown court service.

does this mean that i have to go to court, my dad thinks that the man who raped me has done a runner. i don't know what to do anymore because i don't want to act up in school as it's my final year, but i know i will

please help if you can

Ask Sam

Sam

Hi there,

Going to court to give evidence can be scary but there is a lot of support available as well. A lot of the time you don't need to actually go into the courtroom and evidence can be given in other ways, like by video. The best thing to do is get some advice from an expert like a lawyer or someone involved in your case.

It's hard to know what it's going to be like being involved in a court case as you might not know anybody who has been through it before. You should be given a visit by someone from the Witness Service. They are there to support you before and during the trial. An organisation called Victim Support have a website for young people who are giving evidence in court to help you understand what it's going to be like.

When giving evidence as a young witness you can ask for something called special measures. This means you can ask to give your evidence in other ways, such as by video so you don't have to be in the court room itself. On the day of the trial you should be met by the barristers involved and someone from the Witness Service will be there for you as well. You can ask to see the judge if you want and you can even ask them not to wear their wigs, if that makes you feel more comfortable.

I'm not a legal expert so can't give you any advice of that kind, but you should talk to people who are. A good first place to try is the Children's Legal Centre - they run a website called Law Stuff which has lots of legal advice for young people.

A lot of times cases never go to court. You might have to go at some point but if that's not been decided yet it might be best to try not to worry about it since this may never happen.

I hope this information has helped you though and if you want to talk in the meantime, Childline are here for you.

Take care,

Sam

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