Vulnerable witnesses and Victoria’s intermediary pilot program

Natalia Antolak-Saper, Hannah MacPherson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

In 2018, the Victorian Government introduced the Intermediary Pilot Program. The purpose of this was to provide adequate access to justice for “vulnerable witnesses”; that is, children and people with cognitive impairments who, due to their limited comprehension and communication skills may be unable to effectively participate in criminal trials. Intermediaries are specialists who help ensure that the questioning of vulnerable witnesses is conducted in a way that is developmentally appropriate, and most likely to obtain reliable evidence. The purpose of this article is to critically evaluate Victoria’s pilot program and to make recommendations about its application. Although the introduction of intermediaries in Victoria has not been without controversy, this article suggests that the introduction of the program is a significant milestone in Victoria’s efforts to ensure that the criminal justice system adequately accommodates and protects those witnesses who have limited comprehension and communication skills.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)325-338
Number of pages14
JournalCriminal Law Journal
Volume43
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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