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Last Updated: Wednesday, 13 December 2006, 13:20 GMT
New website 'to assist witnesses'
The site aims to help witnesses in criminal cases or children's hearings
A website informing vulnerable witnesses what to expect in sheriff courts has been launched.

The Scottish Executive-funded site aims to reduce anxiety for those giving evidence in criminal trials or children's hearings.

It has separate areas for children, young people and adults.

The website, which gives information on being a witness, going to court and what to expect when giving evidence, also offers virtual tours of the court.

Deputy Justice Minister Johann Lamont said: "Giving evidence in court can be a worrying time for witnesses, particularly child witnesses.

"We are already introducing new measures through our Vulnerable Witnesses Act 2004 to support child and adult vulnerable witnesses including the use of live TV links, screens, and arrangements for evidence to be given outwith the trial.

"Over the next 18 months, we will be putting these arrangements in place across Scotland to ensure that vulnerable witnesses giving evidence in sheriff court summary or civil cases receive the support they need and deserve."

She said the new website would further help reduce the stress and anxiety associated with attending court.

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