A unique booklet which helps prepare young people for going to court in Ireland has been launched in Co Donegal.
The courthouse building in Letterkenny was the venue for the launch of ‘Going to Court, a guide for young people.’
The guide was developed to support young people who may come in contact with the court service in many different ways.
The booklet has been developed by Donegal Children & Young People Services Committee (CYPSC)
Donegal CYPSC members were joined by Court Services staff, Probation Service staff, Garda Síochána and Donegal Youth Service to mark the launch.
Commenting on the new resource, Anne Timony Meehan, Donegal CYPSC Coordinator said “The ‘Going to Court Guide for Young People’ is an initiative from the CYPSC Safe & Secure Subcommittee led by Gareth Gibson, Donegal Youth Service, Geoffrey McGonagle Court Services, Michael Harrison Garda Siochana and most importantly with the participation of young people.
“It was developed to support young people who come in contact with the Court services and to reduce any anxiety or stress they may feel.
“It covers topics such as types of courts, what happens after someone commits a crime, being called as a witness or as a victim of crime or as a defendant. It covers legal terms, giving evidence, who will be in the courtroom and what they do.”
Garda Michael Harrison, speaking on behalf of the Safe & Secure Subcommittee explained “The purpose of the booklet is to provide advice for all young people who may have to go to court either as a witness, injured party or defendant.
“Court can be a very a frightening place for an adult never mind a child or young person who has to attend and give evidence for whatever reason. By reading this booklet we hope to reduce the anxiety that children experience when attending court.”
Launching the guide, Judge Paul Kelly said “When you launch a book you want everyone to read it, but this is a book that I hope no young person will ever need. It sets out in a very clear and easy to understand way the court process and everyone’s role in it.
“The booklet is a very worthwhile initiative by Donegal CYPSC and the Donegal Youth Service and it is also thanks to the support of the Department of Children and Youth affairs that it was published.”
The Going to Court Guide is funded by the ‘Better Outcomes Brighter Futures Fund’ from the Department of Children & Youth Affairs.