Is Your Child Testifying In Court?
Children who will be testifying in court often have many questions about the process. To help
support children who need to testify in court, the District Attorney's Office offers a program
called Court School. Court school sessions are open to children between the ages of 2 and 16 who
are required to testify in court as either a victim or a witness. These sessions are one hour long
and are held once a month at 1801 Vine Street, Family Court Building, and once a month at 1301 Filbert
Street, the Criminal Justice Center. The sessions are run by a Victim/Witness Coordinator who specializes in child abuse cases.
Children who attend the program will:
- Visit an empty courtroom;
- Learn who the court staff are and what they do;
- Sit on the witness stand;
- Practice being sworn in;
- Practice using the microphone;
- Practice answering general questions (not pertaining to the child's case) from the witness stand;
- Learn terms such as “objection,” “overruled,” and “sustained;” and
- Go over the difference between the truth and a lie
There are many benefits to attending Court School. Some of these benefits include:
- The child is better prepared for the trial;
- The child is less fearful of the court process;
- The child may be able to remember things better because he/she is more relaxed;
- The testimony of the child may be clearer, shortening the amount of time the child has to testify;
- The child sees that he/she is not the only child going through the process; and
- The parent(s) of the child are given information to help calm the child prior to the actual trial date.
If you are interested in registering your child for Court School or would like more information about this resource,
please call (215) 686-8084 or email DA.Victimservices@phila.gov.