This project, jointly funded by the Nuffield Foundation and the NSPCC, assessed whether changes to the legislative framework have been successful in improving the experience of young witnesses in court.
The researchers used a sample of 182 young witnesses across England, Wales and Northern Ireland, aged between five and 19, who were interviewed, along with most of their parents, between May 2007 and October 2008. The resulting report, ‘Measuring up?‘ concluded that the reality faced by young witnesses in court fell short of the standards set out in government policies and made 42 recommendations for improvement.
In response to the recommendations, the Ministry of Justice drew up an Action Plan. Since then, there has been a change of government and the announcement of dramatic budget cuts. Some favourable early responses to the recommendations have been qualified or halted and the Coalition Government’s position in respect of witness policy and its response to some Measuring up? proposals is not yet known.
The number of young witnesses is increasing dramatically.
2011 progress report
In June 2011, the Nuffield Foundation and NSPCC published a follow up report which identifies the progress that has been made in the last two years and highlights where further action is required. The report is based on discussions at two seminars hosted by the Nuffield Foundation and a review of current criminal justice business plans and ‘Big Society’ policy pronouncements.
Despite some improvements to policy and practice for young witnesses in criminal proceedings, the progress report concluded there remain areas in which the state is failing in its commitment to enable them to give their best evidence. Full findings are detailed in the report: ‘Young witnesses in criminal proceedings: A progress report on Measuring up?‘
Latest on this project
Young witnesses in criminal proceedings: A progress report on measuring up?Young20witnesses20in20criminal20proceedings_a20progress20report20on20Measuring20up_v_FINAL.pdf666.29KB 01 June 11
Executive summary - Measuring up? Evaluating implementation of Government commitments to young witnesses in criminal proceedings. NSPCC.Measuring20Up20executive20summary.pdf298.98KB 01 July 09
Full report - Measuring up? Evaluating implementation of Government commitments to young witnesses in criminal proceedings. NSPCC.measuring_up_report_wdf665791.pdf1.19MB 01 July 09
Good practice guidance in managing young witness cases and questioning children.measuring_up_guidance_wdf66581.pdf156.66KB 01 July 09
Director, WelfareNuffield Foundation