Get help from the Witness Service
You can get free and confidential help from the Witness Service if you’re going to court because you’re:
- the victim of a crime
- a witness to a crime - you might be a witness for the prosecution or the defence
- supporting a witness to a crime - for example if you're their parent or carer
- a family member or friend of someone who died because of a crime
Check what help you can get from the Witness Service
You can choose the help you want from the Witness Service.
You can get help before, during and after the court hearing. If you want help before the trial, you should contact the Witness Service as soon as possible.
If you haven’t contacted the Witness Service before you go to court, you can still get help. When you arrive at the court, ask the person on reception if you can talk to someone from the Witness Service.
Get help to understand the court process
You can get help to understand what’s going to happen before, during and after the trial.
The Witness Service will help you understand your rights as a witness. For example, they can help you find the form to claim expenses for travelling to and from the court.
Talk to someone about going to court
You can talk to someone from the Witness Service about any worries you have. You can talk to them before the trial, either on the phone or by video call.
Someone from the Witness Service can also help you on the day of the trial. For example, they can talk to you while you wait and may be able to sit with you in the courtroom.
Find out what a court is like
The Witness Service can help you find out what a court looks like and what will happen. For example, you can either:
visit a court with someone from the Witness Service - they can show you around
talk to someone from the Witness Service on the phone or a video call - they’ll tell you about the court
Get access to emotional or practical support
If you’re struggling, the Witness Service can arrange for you to get support. They can help you get:
emotional support, like counselling
specialist support for the type of crime you witnessed or were a victim of - for example, if you experienced domestic abuse
help from your local Citizens Advice - for example, if you’re having problems with things like housing, debt or work
If you live in London
The Witness Service can give you help on the day you go to court and after the trial.
The Witness Service can’t give you help before the trial - you can get help from Victim Support instead.
Telephone: 0808 168 9291
Monday to Sunday, 24 hours a day
Calls are free
Contact the Witness Service
You can contact the Witness Service by phone or email, or you can fill in an online form. You’ll get the same help however you get in touch.
If you call on the phone, you’ll get help straight away. If you email or fill in the online form, someone will reply to you within 2 working days.
Call on the phone
Telephone: 0300 332 1000
Relay UK - if you can't hear or speak on the phone, you can type what you want to say: 18001 then 0300 332 1000.
You can use Relay UK with an app or a textphone. There’s no extra charge to use it. Find out how to use Relay UK on the Relay UK website.
You can call the Witness Service Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm.
Calls to this number can cost up to 16p a minute from a landline, or between 8p and 40p a minute from a mobile. Your phone supplier can tell you how much you’ll pay.
Send an email
When you write your email, make sure you include how you want the Witness Service to contact you - for example, by email or phone. You should also let them know what time is best to contact you.
If you want the Witness Service to contact you by phone, make sure you include your phone number in your email.
Fill in an online form
Contact us using British Sign Language (BSL)
You can contact the Witness Service using a BSL interpreter on the SignVideo website. You’ll be connected to the Witness Service and a BSL interpreter - there’s no charge.
You can contact the Witness Service Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm.
Give feedback or make a complaint
Check if you can get extra help giving evidence
If you have extra needs that mean you might struggle when you give evidence, there are ways the court can help you. These are called ‘special measures’.