As a Witness
As a witness, you come at the instance of the litigants in the matter or may be invited to assist the Court as an expert witness.
You will be advised as to the date and time when you should attend Court. Your prompt attendance will allow for the timely operation of Court. Of course, the length of time you will be there for depends on the extent of your testimony, and just how much attention the lawyers, or even the Judge, may pay to you.
Some persons fall within the category of “vulnerable witnesses”:
It may be that your experience is one of trauma, and the nature of your interaction with an accused person might make you susceptible to undue influence. It may be that your life might potentially be in danger due to the nature of your testimony.
A vulnerable witness is automatically entitled to the protection of the Court. This may come in the form of police presence at all material times, to ensure the witness’ safety on the day slated for testimony. It may be that a social worker may be present with the witness, for moral and emotional support, usually in matters of sexual assault, or where the witness is a minor. Especially for minors, even in the courtroom, there is protection by way of a screen placed between the minor witness and the accused person, to give the witness an acceptable level of comfort.
The purpose of all this is to bring the witness to a point where he or she feels sufficiently comfortable to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.