About the campaign

Did you know that over half of child witnesses in the justice system experience symptoms of stress, such as sleep and eating problems, depression, panic attacks and self-harm, with some even suicidal? Giving evidence in court is a distressing experience for anyone. Imagine how it must feel for a child who may have been victim to a horrific form of cruelty such as sexual abuse.

NSPCC Order in Court campaign visual

A young girl recently told the NSPCC:

“I am feeling so nervous about giving evidence in court. They are making me explain exactly what happened but I’m not sure I can cope with things like that just yet. Sometimes I wish I had never said anything. It was horrible before but if I knew all this was going to happen then maybe I wouldn’t have said anything.”

Our justice system is currently unfit for children. Over 99 per cent of children still have to go to court to give their evidence, 25 years after a government report condemned this. Children have to endure searing cross-examinations from lawyers which they find upsetting and confusing. And around 96 per cent of young witnesses do not have access to a Registered Intermediary – a trained communication expert to help them understand what is happening during a trial.

That is why the NSPCC is campaigning for the following vital changes to our justice system to make it fair, age appropriate, and fit for children:

• All children should be able to give their evidence from a location away from court

• All judges and barristers taking child sexual abuse cases must complete specialist training

• All young witnesses must have access to a Registered Intermediary, who facilitates communication between children and the police and court

Read more about Order in Court here.