https://insidehmcts.blog.gov.uk/2017/08/22/improvements-to-victim-and-witness-rooms/

Improvements to victim and witness rooms


[English] - [Cymraeg]

Hello, I’m Liz Olney the Deputy Director for Customer Change and Innovation at HMCTS. I want to share with you our recent work to transform our victim and witness rooms. Although we’ll be modernising our estate over the next few years, we know that improvements are needed now. We see over 156,000 individuals coming to court to give evidence each year and rely on evidence provided by victims and witnesses to support the carriage of justice. It’s important we provide the best environment so that individuals can present their cases well.

The development of model rooms

Feedback from the Victim’s Commissioner, local Witness Service volunteers and court employees helped us identify improvements needed across different sites. We asked our regional witness champions to identify sites that provided a good blank canvas to establish model rooms. These needed to meet basic requirements such as having separate rooms for prosecution and defence witnesses, not need major structural work, with staff available to co-ordinate the improvements. Nottingham Justice Centre, Manchester Magistrates’ Court and Newcastle Crown Court were nominated to host the model rooms.

Aldershot Justice Centre and Liverpool Crown Court were also included given their involvement in wider work to improve customer experience. Staff and volunteers from other criminal justice agencies have played an important part in establishing our model rooms, with many individuals generously giving up their free time to paint rooms, assemble furniture and help make a different for victim and witness court experience.

The model rooms are unrecognisable since the transformation and our staff at all the courts have worked hard with delivery partners and volunteers to create bright and welcoming environments.

Delivery partner and professional user reaction

The model rooms have had a really good reaction from our various delivery partners. The Crown Prosecution Service for example have said that it’s really helped when they speak to a witness before the formal hearing starts. To do this in a comfortable and pleasant room has really helped to calm nerves.

Gillian Guy, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice, said:

Giving evidence in court can be a difficult and stressful experience so it is crucial that witnesses are supported to perform their invaluable role.

“It’s our role as the Witness Service to provide information and support to help people feel as comfortable and confident as possible when giving evidence. We know all too well that even small changes to make waiting areas more comfortable can make big differences to a witness’s experience - providing a welcoming space for child witnesses is particularly important.

Lynn Rogers – Crown Prosecutor in Manchester commented:

Witnesses have a key role within the Criminal Justice System and it is paramount that their experience whilst at court is as congenial as possible. The new suite at Manchester Magistrates’ Court offers a safe and relaxing environment for witnesses waiting to give evidence. The main waiting area is light and airy, with comfortable seating and reading matter.There is a well-equipped children’s suite complete with video recorders and play station to capture the interest of young witnesses. The consultation rooms enable private conversations with prosecutors and offer further waiting areas for those witnesses who would prefer not to sit in the larger room. The environment is complemented by the compassionate and helpful witness support staff.

On the new facilities at Nottingham Justice Centre, Amanda Lowndes, Head of Crime for the Midlands region, said:

Forming a partner agency project team has delivered excellent facilities for witnesses; during what can be stressful time for them. The team have been creative by including acoustic pods within the room which provide a safe area to discuss personal case details with counsel, removing the risk of being overheard. The success of this project is down to the commitment of the team and the desire to improve the witness experience.

Next steps for model rooms

The victim and witness rooms that are complete are being used as ‘models’ for future transformations and will set the standard for further improvements. In the next few months, we’ll be using the model rooms and a facilities audit, initially for all criminal courts, to raise standards across the estate. The audit will specifically focus on meeting the requirements in the Victim’s Code and Witness Charter.

Our model rooms show our commitment to improve the customer experience. What’s amazing is the way our local teams and volunteers have pulled together to make these improvements. The results speak for themselves. We are now working to identify where we need to focus our efforts to bring improvements for other courts.

We want to hear from you with other ideas

If you have further ideas on how we can bring improvements to the experience for victims and witnesses, please use the comment function at the bottom of this page or send me an email.


[English] - [Cymraeg]

Helo, Liz Olney ydw i sef Dirprwy Gyfarwyddwr Newid Cwsmer ac Arloesi Gwasanaeth Llysoedd a Thribiwnlysoedd EM. Hoffwn rannu ein gwaith diweddar o drawsnewid ein hystafelloedd dioddefwyr a thystion gyda chi. Er byddwn yn moderneiddio ein hystâd dros yr ychydig flynyddoedd nesaf, rydym yn gwybod bod gwelliannau eu hangen nawr. Mae dros 156,000 o unigolion yn dod i’r llys i roi tystiolaeth bob blwyddyn ac rydym yn dibynnu ar y dystiolaeth a roddir gan ddioddefwyr a thystion i gefnogi'r ddarpariaeth o gyfiawnder. Mae’n bwysig ein bod yn darparu’r amgylchedd orau fel bod unigolion yn gallu cyflwyno eu hachosion yn dda.

Datblygu ystafelloedd model

Helpodd yr adborth a gawsom gan y Comisiynydd Dioddefwyr, gwirfoddolwyr o’r Gwasanaeth Tystion lleol a staff y llys i adnabod y gwelliannau sydd eu hangen ar draws y safleoedd gwahanol.
Mi ofynnom i’n pencampwyr tystion rhanbarthol i ddod o hyd i safleoedd addas fel y gallwn sefydlu ystafelloedd model o’r newydd. Roedd angen i’r rhain fodloni gofynion sylfaenol megis bod ag ystafelloedd ar wahân ar gyfer tystion yr erlyniad a thystion yr amddiffyniad, nad oeddynt angen gwaith strwythurol mawr a bod staff ar gael i gydlynu'r gwelliannau. Enwebwyd Canolfan Cyfiawnder Nottingham, Llys Ynadon Manceinion a Llys y Goron Newcastle i gynnal yr ystafelloedd model.

Cafodd Canolfan Cyfiawnder Aldershot a Llys y Goron Lerpwl hefyd eu cynnwys oherwydd eu bod yn rhan o’r gwaith ehangach i wella profiad y cwsmer. Mae staff a gwirfoddolwyr o asiantaethau cyfiawnder troseddol eraill wedi chwarae rhan bwysig yn y broses o sefydlu ein hystafelloedd model, gyda nifer o unigolion yn rhoi o'u hamser rhydd yn garedig i beintio'r ystafelloedd, gosod dodrefn a helpu i wneud gwahaniaeth i brofiad dioddefwyr a thystion yn y llys.

Mae’n amhosibl adnabod yr ystafelloedd model ers iddynt gael eu trawsnewid ac mae ein staff yn y llysoedd wedi gweithio’n galed gyda phartneriaid darparu a gwirfoddolwyr i greu amgylchoedd braf a chroesawgar.

Ymateb partneriaid darparu a defnyddwyr proffesiynol

Mae amryw o’n partneriaid darparu wedi ymateb yn dda iawn i’r ystafelloedd model. Mae Gwasanaeth Erlyn y Goron er enghraifft wedi dweud eu bod wedi eu helpu’n fawr pan maent yn siarad â thyst cyn i’r gwrandawiad ffurfiol gychwyn. Mae gallu gwneud hyn mewn ystafell gyfforddus a dymunol wedi helpu i wneud y dioddefwyr a'r tystion deimlo’n fwy cyfforddus.

Dywedodd Gillian Guy, Prif Weithredwr y Ganolfan Cyngor ar Bopeth:

Gall rhoi tystiolaeth yn y llys fod yn brofiad anodd ac yn brofiad sy’n peri straen, felly mae’n hanfodol bod tystion yn cael eu cefnogi i gyflawni eu rôl hynod werthfawr.

“Ein rôl ni fel Gwasanaeth Tystion yw darparu gwybodaeth a chefnogaeth i helpu pobl i deimlo mor gyfforddus a hyderus â phosibl wrth roi tystiolaeth. Gwyddom yn rhy dda y gall hyd yn oed y newidiadau lleiaf i wneud mannau aros yn fwy cyfforddus wneud gwahaniaeth mawr i brofiad tyst – mae darparu lle croesawgar i dyst sy’n blentyn yn hynod o bwysig.

Dywedodd Lynn Rogers, Erlynydd y Goron ym Manceinion:

Mae gan dystion rôl allweddol i’w chwarae o fewn y System Cyfiawnder Troseddol ac maen hollbwysig bod eu profiad yn y llys mor gydnaws â phosibl. Mae’r ystafelloedd newydd yn Llys Ynadon Manceinion yn cynnig amgylchedd saff a braf i dystion sy’n disgwyl rhoi tystiolaeth. Mae’r prif fan aros yn olau ac awyrog, gyda seddi cyfforddus a deunyddiau darllen. Mae ystafell llawn offer i blant gyda recordyddion a playstation ar gael i ennyn diddordeb tystion ifanc. Mae’r ystafelloedd ymgynghori ar gael ar gyfer sgyrsiau preifat gydag erlynwyr ac yn cynnig mannau aros ychwanegol i’r tystion hynny na fyddai’n dymuno eistedd yn y brif fan aros. Mae’r amgylchedd yn cael ei ategu gan staff cymorth tystion trugarog a chymwynasgar.

Mewn perthynas â'r cyfleusterau newydd yng Nghanolfan Cyfiawnder Nottingham, dywedodd Amanda Lowndes, Pennaeth Trosedd Rhanbarth Canolbarth Lloegr:

Mae ffurfio tîm prosiect asiantaeth partner wedi darparu cyfleusterau rhagorol i dystion; yn ystod beth all fod yn amser sy’n peri straen mawr iddynt. Mae’r tîm wedi bod yn greadigol drwy gynnwys podiau acwstig yn yr ystafell sy'n darparu man diogel i drafod manylion personol yr achos gyda’r cwnsel, gan gael gwared â’r risg o gael eich clywed. Mae’r prosiect hwn wedi llwyddo oherwydd ymrwymiad y tîm a’r awydd i wella profiad y tyst.

Y camau nesaf ar gyfer yr ystafelloedd model

Mae’r ystafelloedd i ddioddefwyr a thystion sydd wedi eu cwblhau yn cael eu defnyddio fel 'modelau' ar gyfer trawsnewidiadau yn y dyfodol a bydd yn gosod y safon ar gyfer gwelliannau pellach. Yn ystod y misoedd nesaf, byddwn yn defnyddio’r ystafelloedd model ac yn cynnal archwiliad o’r cyfleusterau ar gyfer yr holl lysoedd troseddol i ddechrau codi safonau ar draws yr ystâd. Bydd yr archwiliad yn canolbwyntio’n benodol ar fodloni’r anghenion yng Nghod y Dioddefwyr a Siarter y Tystion.

Mae ein hystafelloedd model yn dangos ein hymrwymiad i wella profiad y cwsmer. Beth sy’n wych yw y ffordd mae ein timau lleol a gwirfoddolwyr wedi dod ynghyd i wneud y gwelliannau hyn. Mae’r canlyniadau'n siarad drostynt eu hunain. Rydym bellach yn gweithio tuag at adnabod lle’r ydym angen canolbwyntio arno i wella llysoedd eraill.

Rydym eisiau clywed gennych gyda syniadau eraill

Os oes gennych ragor o syniadau ar sut allwn wella profiadau dioddefwyr a thystion, defnyddiwch y cyfleuster ar gyfer gwneud sylwadau ar waelod y dudalen hon neu anfonwch e-bost ataf os gwelwch yn dda.