2 – Other procedural acts
In any case, it is recommended to Victim Support Workers (VSW) to be proactive in defending the interests of the victim. In this sense, whenever the victim shows the intent to be accompanied by a VSW, he/she shall take the initiative of contacting the authority responsible for the judicial act and request for the victim to be accompanied.
Despite the accompaniment being established only for certain procedural acts, it is considered that when the needs of the victim or witness so dictate, it may occur in other procedural acts. For example, although the accompaniment is not established at the time the victim provides the first testimony to the Public Prosecution or during trial, the stress, anxiety or lack of knowledge of the criminal proceedings may justify the need for the victims’ accompaniment by a VSW.
The assessment of whether there is a need for accompaniment may be conducted by a VSW, when the victim or witness have been receiving support from a victim support organisation, or also by law enforcement or judicial authorities. In the first scenario, it is up to the VSW to request the accompaniment and justify why it is necessary. In the second case, since the VSW doesn’t know the victim/witness, the law enforcement or judicial authority shall request the cooperation of a VSW.