Resources For Young People

Your time within the Criminal Justice System is a unique journey to you. A.S.S.C. is here to support you along the way.

This page will provide you with the necessary information to prepare yourself for court.

If you have any questions, please contact us at support@assc.ie

Your Rights

The Victims of Crime Act 2017 lays out the rights victims/ witnesses have in court. They are:

  • The right to be given detailed information about the criminal justice system.
  • The right to be given information on victim support services.
  • The right to be kept informed of the progress of the investigation and any court proceedings.
  • The right to have protection needs assessed and have measures put in place to stop further victimisation and intimidation.
  • The right to be told of a decision not to prosecute and the right to ask for a review of that decision.
  • The right to be given information in clear language and to have access to interpretation and translation services if needed.

As a young person, you are given special measures to keep you safe during the process. Click below to learn more.

Click here!

People in Court

There can be a lot of different people working on your case, and there are even more working in the courts. It is easy to forget who everyone is but don’t worry as we have a list below explaining everyone’s job that you might meet along the way.

The Judge is in charge of the courtroom. They are in charge of the law and make sure that the trial is fair.

The Jury is a group of 12 people who are selected from the general public. They listen to all of the evidence and decide if the accused person is guilty or not.

The Prosecution Barrister works for the state and they present the case against the accused to the judge and jury and explain what they are charged with.

The Defence Barrister defends the accused person by questioning the prosecution’s case. Their main goal is to create a reasonable doubt in the mind of the jury that the accused did not commit the alleged crime.

The Solicitors work with the barristers. In the court they sit facing the barristers and give them instructions during the trial. If you have the name of your solicitor or barrister you can search for them using the links at the bottom of this page.

The Accused or defendant is the person who is charged with commiting the alleged crime.

The Video Link Assistant will sit with you in the video link room when you provide your testimony to the court.

Pre-Trial Meeting

As you can see there is a lot involved in a court trial. Here at A.S.S.C., one of the services we provide is a pre-trial meeting. This is when we bring young people and their families/carers into the court a few days before the trial is meant to start to show them around. The main goal of a pre-trial meeting is to familiarise you with the courthouse and the court process. It is also a good opportunity for you to ask any questions or raise any worries you might have.

What happens at a pre-trial meeting?

  • On the day, a staff member and/or a trained volunteer will meet you at the court reception and introduce themselves to you. They will then bring you to the victim support area. This is a safe area not accessible to the public and only available to people who are witnesses or victims of a crime. You will be shown around the area so you know where things are, such as the bathroom.
  • In the support area, there will be a private room, if possible, just for you and your family. During the trial, you will also have a private room which is where you will spend your time waiting to give your evidence.
  • After you are familiar with the support area, you will be shown the video link room. This is where you will provide your evidence for the trial.
  • You will also be shown an empty court room so you can see what it’s like. You’ll get to see where everyone sits, such as the barristers, jury and judge. You can even sit in the judge’s seat if you want.
Pre-Trial Meeting

The Trial Process

The court system and trial process can be confusing, especially after waiting a long time for a case to come to court.
Once someone is accused of a crime and they have plead not guilty – in other words they are saying that they did not do this – then a trial will take place.

There are four things needed for a trial to begin:

  1. The Court Room – a safe place where the case can be discussed, and everyone involved is listened to.
  2. The Judge – they will oversee the trial and ensure that it is carried out fairly. They will ensure the law is always followed correctly. Once the outcome of the case has been reached, and if it is a guilty verdict, they decide on the sentence for the accused.
  3. The Jury – this is made up of 12 ordinary people who listen to the evidence and what everyone has to say. They decide if the person accused is guilty or not guilty (called the ‘verdict’).
  4. The Evidence – this is what everyone has to say about the case – the young person, the accused person and any witnesses (those close to the young person or anyone who saw what happened). They will be asked questions by barristers (lawyers who work in court rooms) to help them say everything they need to say.

What is Expected of You?

As a victim or witness in a criminal trial, there are certain things that you should prepare yourself for.

​Before your case started, you would have completed a specialist interview with the Gardaí. This interview was recorded, and it will be used in the trial as your statement and evidence. The recording of the interview will be played in the courtroom. At A.S.S.C., we suggest that you watch this interview before the day of the trial to prepare yourself. We can support you in doing this.

Afterwards, your legal team and the accused’s legal team will ask you some questions. It is called a ‘cross-examination’ when the accused’s legal team (usually the defence barrister) asks you questions. During the pre-trial meeting, we will talk you through this process and give you things you can do in the video-link room to help you through this difficult but important time.

​Once the legal teams have asked you all their questions, your part is finished. You can watch the rest of the trial if you would like to, but you can also leave and go home. It is completely up to you.

​If the accused is found guilty, there will be a sentencing date set for a different day. At the sentencing, you can provide a ‘Victim Impact Statement‘ – in this you can explain how the crime has affected you.

Pre-Trial Meeting

Other Resources

Here are some other resources that may be useful for you

Court Services

Court Services

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Garda Victims Information Booklet

Spunout

Spunout

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EPIC

Jigsaw

Barnardos

Barnardos

Court Services

Court Services

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Garda Victims Information Booklet

Spunout

Spunout

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EPIC

Jigsaw

Barnardos

Barnardos

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