The children's charity Barnardos has launched a video designed to reduce the trauma experienced by child witnesses in child sex abuse and other criminal cases.
The eight-minute video, called You're Going to be a Witness, is produced in the style of a children's television programme.
It was made with the co-operation of the Teesside Combined Court Centre and is reported to have the approval of the police, judges and social services.
Tink Palmer, project leader of a Barnardos project which offers therapy for child victims of sexual abuse, said: “This video provides clear information about court procedures in a format that is familiar and accessible to children. It will assist in the administration of justice by helping to lessen the stress on young witnesses.
“Court can be a terrifying experience for a child, because of the unfamiliar surroundings and proceedings and the fear that they might meet the perpetrator of the crime.
“They can become physically ill, suffer panic attacks and their minds may be so disorientated that they cannot think in a logical way.”
Research carried out by Victim Support last September revealed that many children currently receive no preparation before attending court.