The Department of Health, the Crown Prosecution Service and the Home Office have worked together to produce this practice guidance. The guidance is issued as part of the Home Office led Action for Justice programme, which said that good practice guidance on the provision of therapy prior to trial for vulnerable or intimidated adult witnesses would be issued.
The guidance is primarily for the assistance of therapists, those who commission or arrange therapy and lawyers involved in making decisions about the provision of therapeutic help for vulnerable or intimidated adult witnesses prior to a criminal trial. The guidance makes it clear that the best interests of the witness are paramount when deciding whether, and in what form, therapeutic help is given.
It is intended to be helpful for all practitioners, especially those in the criminal justice system, NHS, social services departments and voluntary organisations. The guidance complements the good practice guidance for child witnesses which was published in February 2001.