Achieving Best Evidence in Criminal Proceedings ADULTS

Achieving Best Evidence in Criminal Proceedings - Interviewing vulnerable and intimidated adult victims and witnesses

Achieving Best Evidence in Criminal Proceedings, or “ABE” as it is regularly referred to, is the key guidance on interviewing and supporting vulnerable and /or intimidated victims and witnesses through the criminal justice system. Compliance with the guidance is essential if agencies working with vulnerable adults are to best meet their service-users’ needs. ABE does not only apply to the police service, it is every professionals’ responsibility to know what the guidance says and how to work within its framework. This course is an in-depth, practical learning event which gives useful and applicable tips, tactics and strategies for dealing with many of the situations that interviewers from many agencies and organisations might encounter.

Anecdotal evidence supports the claim that too often some victims of crimes are not being regarded as potentially competent witnesses. Often they are very credible. They just need the application of “special measures” to enhance the quality of what they are saying. Recent application of these special measures is giving many previously unsupported victims a new access to justice. This course will significantly enhance your knowledge, understanding and practical skills in this high-risk area of adult safeguarding.


Course content:

By the end of this module the attending participants will be able to, amongst other learning outcomes:

  • Define a “Vulnerable” victim and witness
  • Define when a person might be considered as an “Intimidated” victim or witness
  • List all “Special Measures” that a vulnerable and/or intimidated victim or witness may be eligible for
  • Explain when a victim or witness should be considered ‘competent’ under the relevant legislation
  • Explain those “Special Measures” in context of the participant’s local working environment
  • Demonstrate the ability to take notes during an interview in such a way that enables the identification and management of interview topics dynamically during a live-time interview
  • Explain the possible advantages and potential disadvantages of ‘open’, ‘specific closed’, ‘forced choice’ and ‘leading’ questions
  • Demonstrate the ability to apply those four question types appropriately during a live-time interview
  • Demonstrate the ability to obtain, in an ethical manner that complies with the Ministry of Justice’s guidance and recent court findings and case law, relevant detail
  • Demonstrate the ability to perform the role of ‘lead interviewer’ in an interview conducted under the guidance “Achieving Best Evidence in Criminal Proceedings”
  • Demonstrate the ability to perform the role of the second-interviewer / note-taker in an interview conducted under the guidance “Achieving Best Evidence in Criminal Proceedings”

Module duration and delivery methodology

The above list is not a definitive catalogue of learning outcomes that will be achieved during this five-day long learning event, merely a sample of the depth and nature of the attendees’ development thresholds. You will see that many of the learning outcomes start with “Demonstrate the ability to …”. This is because this is a very practical and interactive course where the learners will be working with experienced practitioners as their trainers in simulated interview exercises. Delegates will also work with professional role players who bring a vast amount of experience in this area of work. Feedback from the role-players is often said to be one of the most valuable elements of the course.

The full course is of five days duration. Alternative options exist for managers or those delegates who have received ABE guidance in the past and now need refresher /update training. Please enquire directly with us to discuss your specific needs.

Whilst this course is focussed on the guidance that “ABE” gives us in relation to adult victims and witnesses, an interviewing children version of this course also exists. We also deliver courses for delegates who work with both children and adults, thus catering for the publication’s nuanced guidance impacting both age ranges.


Who should attend?

Whilst the Police, Local Authority Adult Services social workers and other social care personnel who work with vulnerable adults are the obvious attendees, our training events cater for both a much wider and a much more targeted audience. All agencies and departments who have an investigative responsibility or capability such as Trading Standards, banking organisations and other fraud investigators are catered for on this course as are sporting integrity units and similar organisations who may be dealing with vulnerable or intimidated witnesses within a closely connected structure where illegal gambling or performance enhancing substance misuse is being investigated. The reason we are proud to say our courses are ‘targeted’ is because, in each of these cases, we would deliver interview exercises and contextualised learning set against the backdrop of the attendees’ day job. Our trainers have significant experience of doing just that across a number of clients’ needs.

The Code of Practice for Victims of Crime list three categories of people who are eligible for “Enhanced Entitlements” to support and assist them through the Criminal Justice system. These are: 1) Victims of the most serious crimes; 2) persistently targeted victims; and 3) Vulnerable and / or Intimidated victims. It follows that the organisations who are required to provide the services (listed within the code) are also obvious organisations to which this course is applicable to.


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