Deborah Piccos, a consultant children law accredited solicitor in our family law department, has been participating on behalf of SAHCA (Solicitors Association of Higher Court Advocates) in the research project leading to this week’s publication of Joyce Plotnikoff and Richard Wolfson’s Falling Short report commissioned on behalf of the NSPCC. This new research has concluded that “Child witnesses are still being let down by the criminal justice system despite a raft of commitments by Government in the last decade”. Deborah brought to the research project her experience of the family courts and how child witnesses give their evidence in the family justice system, to try and improve the practices in the criminal justice system.
The key findings of the research include :
- New NSPCC research reveals Government failure to deliver successive policy commitments to child witnesses
- Lack of leadership and accountability for policy delivery
- No overarching approach to safeguarding children
- Under-use and under-resourcing of specialists to help children’s communication at police interview and trial
- Substandard video interviewing, long delays in court process and inadequate support for young witnesses
The full report can be found at https://learning.nspcc.org.uk/research-resources/2019/falling-short-young-witness-policy-practice/