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Child Victims and Witnesses Support Materials: Who Is Everybody? In Criminal Court

NCJ Number
Date Published
June 2021

This is a brief guide in the “I Am Malik” series that explains for children ages 7-12 the various roles of people with whom a child/youth may interact or hear about during a criminal proceeding in which the child/youth is involved, and it provides practical tips on preparing for court and information on rights to which children are entitled in the context of criminal proceedings.


The introductory statement to the child/youth reader is as follows: “There are lots of people working with you and your family. Here are some of the people you might see and what their jobs are.” The job descriptions are for “police,” who investigate crimes and might ask the child questions to help them understand what may have happened in the child’s presence; “victim advocate,” who can help a child in understanding and coping with what is happening in the case; the “defendant,” who is believed by important government officials to have broken the law, but wants to prove they are wrong; the ”judge,” who is in charge of the courtroom and its procedures; the “jury,” a group that decides whether the defendant violated a criminal law; the “prosecutor,” who attempts to persuade the jury the  defendant violated a law cited by the prosecutor; and “the defense attorney,” a lawyer who helps the defendant in persuading the jury the defendant did not break the law as claimed by the prosecutor. Job descriptions are also provided for the court officer, the court reporter, the interpreter, the probation officer, and the parole officer. Characteristics of a victim and witness are explained, and the child’s role as a victim or a witness is also explained. The features of a courtroom are described.