This page provides information on how PFD and its partners can help you at court, and what other advocacy services are available across Dorset.

Advocacy services

Witness care

The Witness Care Unit in Dorset, staffed by the Police and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), offers support and advice to victims and witnesses involved in cases in which someone has been charged with an offence and is being prosecuted through the courts.

The unit can help with both Magistrates Court and Crown Court cases.

A Witness Care Officer will be allocated to your case to help you by providing a consistent and accessible service for dealing with your individual needs. If you wish to contact them directly, you can give them a call on:

01202 222722  (Crown Court)

01202 222716 (Magistrates Court)


Appropriate adults

Appropriate adults are called to the police station as an important safeguard, providing independent support to detained people who are vulnerable, including those who:

- appear to be aged under 18
- are suffering from mental health problems or other mental vulnerabilities. 

An appropriate adult is not simply an observer. Their role is to assist the person to ensure that they understand what is happening at the police station during the interview and investigative stages. Appropriate adults should:

- support, advise and assist the person
- ensure that the person understands their rights
- ensure that the police act fairly and respect the rights of the person
- ensure effective communication between the person, the police and others.

However, appropriate adults are not there to provide the person with legal advice. Read more about appropriate adults here.

Witness profiler

In Bournemouth and Poole, a witness profiler is used to support victims with learning difficulties through the court process.

The profiler works closely with staff in the Police and CPS Witness Care Unit, and has created an easy to read letter to be sent to victims and witnesses with learning disabilities who are required to give evidence in court.