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An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Child Victims and Witnesses Support Materials

Introduction

For children, participating in the justice system as a victim or witness can be especially confusing, distressing, and even re-traumatizing. Child Victims and Witnesses Support Materials was created to support children and youth during their involvement with the justice system as a victim or witness to a crime.

Based on the input of national experts, these materials are intended to teach children about how the justice system works, what their rights are, the roles of the different practitioners they’ll meet, and how they can cope with the difficult feelings they might have. For children who have to testify, there are also tips to help them prepare for going to court.

These materials were specifically designed to appeal to children of different age groups (ages 2–6, ages 7–12, and ages 13–18). However, you can use whichever set of materials seems most appropriate, given the child’s stage of development.

For each age group, there are materials about the criminal justice system and the child welfare system. The goal of these materials is to provide effective, trauma-informed, developmentally appropriate information and support to children in a way that they can more easily understand, so they can feel informed, supported, and empowered.

Practitioner and Parent/Caregiver Guides

The Guide for Practitioners and the Guide for Parents and Caregivers provide information on how to use the materials, as well as tips for supporting child victims and witnesses.