ODPP takes action to improve witness communication

December 10, 2023 6:07 am

Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP). [File]

The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions is actively working to improve the way witnesses, particularly vulnerable individuals, provide evidence in court.

Acting DPP John Rabuku acknowledges that existing legislation, sentencing powers, and special measures are adequate, but he also highlights areas for further improvement within the system.

One key area identified by Rabuku is the need for better communication with children and vulnerable witnesses within the legal framework.

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He emphasizes the critical importance of training lawyers and litigators to effectively communicate with individuals who may face challenges articulating their experiences.

Acting DPP John Rabuku

Additionally, he underscores the need to ensure that such communication is conducted in a safe and sensitive manner.

To address this crucial issue, the ODPP has taken concrete steps, including the amendment and update of Victim Impact Assessment reports or victim impact statement forms.

“Armed with this information about the effects of trauma, the ODPP’s office is committed to conducting specific training on child rights specialization experts were brought in to train prosecutors on child advocacy cases and there continues to be a training program at the office that focuses on managing vulnerable witnesses. There are many other ways that the Office of the DPP is focusing on lately in trying to improve the way vulnerable witnesses provide their evidence before the court.”

Rabuku adds that the ODPP has long recognized that children are a special type of victim that needed specific attention in these escalating statistics.