The Witness Assistance Service is a unit within the Director of Public Prosecutions and its primary role is to provide support to victims of crime and witnesses who need to appear in Court to give evidence. When Witness Assistance Service officers are allocated to cases, they will make contact with the victim and keep them informed as to the progress of the case and organise for the victim to meet with the prosecutor dealing with the case as required.
The Witness Assistance Service provides the following support:
The Witness Assistance Service has staff based in three offices throughout the Northern Territory; these are in Darwin, Katherine and Alice Springs. Witness Assistance Officers will regularly travel out to other regional and remote courts to assist witnesses with hearings that occur at those courts and to meet with victims prior to court. An officer from Alice Springs regularly visits Tennant Creek to make contact with victims and witnesses and prepare them for Court.
Witness Assistance Service officers also networks with other service providers try to ensure the victim has on-going supports in place and to ensure witnesses know about the assistance available to them in going to court.
Given the large volume of cases going to Court, the Witness Assistance Service can not have an officer allocated to every case. Priority is given to vulnerable or special needs witnesses which include:
Cases can be referred to the Witness Assistance Service through the prosecutor, the police, support agencies or services that may be working with the victim or by self-referral from the victim.
Download/print the full Support for Victims and Witnesses