Supporting Child Witnesses: Taking Evidence, Mitigating Trauma, Implementing Reform

This event will examine the impact of the Vulnerable Witnesses (Criminal Evidence) Bill on how we support child witnesses and minimise the risk of them experiencing further trauma.  

Register early and get a 20% discount* 

*When registering use code EB20 (valid until 1 August)

A "milestone" in Scotland's journey to protect children as they interact with the justice system

In May 2019, the Scottish Parliament unanimously passed the Vulnerable Witnesses (Criminal Evidence) Bill. Developed with the support of children’s and victim’s charities, the Bill sets out a presumption that child witnesses will provide evidence through pre-recordings to spare them the trauma of appearing in court.

The reforms are backed by £2 million of funding to create a specialist evidence suite for child witnesses in Glasgow, and upgrades to facilities that support evidence by commissioner in Inverness, Aberdeen, and Edinburgh. These improved facilities will make a real and positive difference to child witnesses and potentially to the quality of their testimony. 

Join us as we examine what these changes will mean for child witnesses and the professionals who support them. 

Key issues we will address with you

  • Update on the policy context: Vulnerable Witnesses (Criminal Evidence) Bill 2019 and the 2016 Evidence and Procedure Review
  • An intermediate step towards a Scottish ‘barnahus’ or child’s house?
  • How the simplified notification procedure for standard special measures will work in practice 
  • Transitional arrangements for moving to pre-recorded evidence 
  • Adaptations to the court experience for children due to give evidence in less serious criminal cases 
  • Children’s services, justice agencies, and third sector organisations taking a multi-agency approach to supporting child witnesses
  • Transforming the culture within the justice system 

Who should attend? 

  • Child protection professionals and social workers
  • Children’s rights officers
  • Joint investigative interview training coordinators
  • Legal professionals 
  • Organisations working in the justice sector including Police Scotland and the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service
  • Children’s Hearings Scotland
  • Third sector and independent organisations working with children


9.30 Registration and morning refreshments 

10.00 Welcome and introduction from the Chair 

Tam Bailie, former Children & Young People's Commissioner

10.30 Session 1: A Reformed System to Support Child Witnesses 

In this opening session we will examine the reforms that are contained in the Vulnerable Witnesses (Criminal Evidence) Bill 2019 and how these are intended to improve children’s experiences of the justice system. 

John Scott QC, Solicitor Advocate 

Mary Glasgow, Chief Executive, Children 1st

Speaker to be confirmed, Scottish Government 

11.40 Refreshments and networking 

12.00 Session 2: Arrangements and Facilities to Mitigate Trauma 

The new processes and facilities that are being introduced are designed to create an environment where children feel safe and supported. In this session we will examine the range of measures that are being taken, how these will work in practice, and what this will mean for the professionals who support children. We will also consider what further measures could be taken to mitigate the trauma children experience from giving evidence. 

13.00 Lunch and networking 

13.45 Session 3: A Child-Centred, Multi-Agency Approach 

Improving children’s experiences of the justice system is the concern of children’s services professionals, social workers, justice agencies, and the courts. In this session, our panel of experts will explore how these agencies can work together to implement the positive, transformational changes envisioned in recent legislation. 

Tam Bailie, former Children & Young People's Commissioner

15.25 Closing remarks from the Chair 

15.30 Close of Event 

*The agenda is subject to change 

Our events are CPD certified. This event is equivalent to 2 CPD points.
A certificate is available on request post-event to all attendees.


Speaker callout

We are committed to bringing the latest policy information with engaging dialogue and practical case studies to make a real impact in the public sector. If you are a knowledge expert in your field or have an inspiring case study which would make an impact to Public Sector organisations, we would love to hear from you. Please email with your name and contact details, linkedin profile and a summary of your project or area or expertise and we will be in touch.


Central Edinburgh


Delegate rates (excluding VAT):

  • Reduced rate: 1 place £145 + VATpp (Voluntary/charitable organisations with an annual income of less than £1m)
  • Standard rate: 1 place £245 + VAT | 2+ places £195 + VAT per place (Central government departments and agencies, local authorities, universities, colleges, NHS, police, professional associations and voluntary/charitable organisations with an annual income over £1m)
  • Private Sector rate: 1 place £295 + VAT | 2+ places £245 + VAT per place (Commercial organisations e.g. plc, Ltd, LLP)

For more information please email or phone 0131 285 1635

4 December 2019



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