Published Tuesday, 27 March 2012
The live link scheme has been in place at Derry Courthouse since 2008. (© UTV)
The NSPCC said the scheme which allows children to testify without physically being in the court room should be extended to all courts throughout Northern Ireland, not just Londonderry Courthouse, where it has been used on a trial basis for four years.
Following an evaluation, the charity claimed that young people preparing to give evidence have been less stressed, and are more likely to give evidence using the live link.
Janique Burden, manager of the NSPCC's Young Witness Service, said giving evidence in open court can be a "traumatic experience" and more should be done to minimise young people's stress.
"While in some courts young witnesses currently give evidence in a separate room in the courthouse through a court TV link, there is an issue around the fact that court buildings are simply not child friendly, and that young witnesses could encounter the defendant and his or her family and friends in the court buildings.
"The live link facility allows the young witness to communicate with the court from another building away from the courthouse, where they can receive the necessary support and are enabled to give their best evidence.
"The pilot sought to measure the live link's effectiveness for the young people, but also to ensure it was fit for purpose for those trying and defending cases."
The charity has recommended the facility become permanent in Derry as well as being introduced to all courthouses.