10 Jan 2012

New legislation on child witnesses planned

2:32 pm on 10 January 2012

The Government will introduce legislation this year intended to improve the way children are treated in the criminal justice system.

If passed, it would mean all children under the age of 12 could give their evidence by video recording or closed circuit television (CCTV).

Child witnesses would be questioned by specialists trained in the thinking and understanding of children.

The use of such intermediaries would be phased in over two years and funded from the $50 Offender Levy.

All child witnesses would also be given the automatic right to have a support person present while giving evidence.

The final draft of the Evidence Amendment Bill is still to be signed off by Cabinet.