The Remote Witness Facility for vulnerable and child witnesses: new perspectives on an emerging spatial typology

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Sociologia do(s) Espaço(s) da Justiça: Diálogos interdisciplinares, 2013, 1, pp. 161 - 183
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For over twenty years courts have utilised video-mediated technologies, such as CCTV and videoconferencing, to access evidence remotely.1 It is widely accepted that use of videolinks has improved the quality of justice by obtaining better quality evidence from children and vulnerable witnesses, and by reducing the possibility of trauma (ALRC 1992; OGrady 1996; Burton et al 2006, 2007). Testifying via videolink reduces stress on children and vulnerable witnesses as they can avoid contact with the defendant, enabling some cases that without the option of videolinks may not have proceeded (ALRC 1989: 4).2 Previous evaluations emphasise the importance of preventing the witness coming into contact with the defendant and their supporters, and from being subject to their gaze (ALRC 1997; Burton et al 2007); however, such a focus perhaps obscures other important reasons that underlie the success of this new court procedure.
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