Children’s champions/witness intermediaries

[7-060] Article

Professor P Cooper, “Children’s champions/witness intermediaries”.

This presentation was given on 17 and 26 February 2016 as part of the District Court of NSW Seminar Series.

Note: The Child Sexual Offence Evidence Pilot is now a permanent program as described in the abstract below.


The presentation provides information regarding the role of witness intermediaries, in preparation for the commencement on 31 March 2016 of the Child Sexual Offence Evidence Pilot (now a permanent program: Child Sexual Offence Evidence Program (CSOEP)) in the District Court of NSW. The CSOEP provides for children’s champions or witness intermediaries and the pre-recording of evidence of child witnesses: Criminal Procedure Act 1986, Sch 2, Pt 29.

The pilot scheme began in 2016 in two court locations — the Sydney (Downing Centre) District Court and Newcastle District Court — as well as in the corresponding South-West Metropolitan, Central Metropolitan, and parts of the Northern Police Districts. The CSOEP was established as a permanent fixture in its initial locations in 2018, and from 1 July 2023 the CSOEP is expanded to every District Court and Police District in NSW: see “Greater support for child sex abuse victims”, media release, NSW Communities and Justice, Sydney, 1 February 2023.

Topics covered in the presentation include:

  • the role of the witness intermediary

  • lessons learnt from the English and Northern Irish intermediary schemes

  • training assessment and recommendations

  • pre-trial case management

  • the new witness/intermediary cross-examination dynamic

  • case law

  • further reading.


[Please find a link to “The Advocate’s Gateway“ toolkit referred to in slide 7 of Professor Cooper’s presentation.]


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