The early identification of vulnerable witnesses prior to an investigative interview

B. O'Mahony, K. Smith, Becky Milne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to examine how Registered Intermediaries are used in the England and Wales to facilitate communication between vulnerable witnesses, victims and police investigators and criminal courts. Design/methodology/approach – The paper focuses on the need for early identification of the vulnerable person so that support measures can be put in place from the outset to assist them to provide their testimony. Findings – It is noted that real progress has been made by the introduction of legislation, specifically the Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act (1999), and the uptake by the police service of the subsequent special measures put in place. However, the criminal justice service cannot afford to be complacent as research demonstrates that the police and the courts need to be more effective in managing these issues. Originality/value – The paper recommends that support measures are widened to include witnesses and suspects being interviewed by the Independent Police Complaints Commission, HM Customs and Revenue, the Department of Health and the Department of Work and Pensions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)114-123
Number of pages10
JournalThe British Journal of Forensic Practice
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2011


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