Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions

Witness Assistance Service

Witness Assistance Service

The Office of the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions (CDPP) established the Witness Assistance Service (WAS) in November 2008 for the purpose of providing information and support to victims of crime and vulnerable prosecution witnesses involved with matters being dealt with by the Office.

The WAS has experienced social workers located in both our Sydney and Melbourne offices. The WAS staff work closely with prosecutors in  order to provide  information and support to victims of crime and vulnerable witnesses involved in matters being prosecuted across our national office. Our work with victims of crime is performed in accordance with the Victims of Crime and Prosecution policies.

What does the WAS do?

The WAS staff work with prosecutors and may provide victims of crime with the following: 

  • General updates concerning the prosecution case;
  • Information/explanations concerning the legal process/court procedures;
  • Information concerning policy entitlements and avenues for review/complaint
  • Information concerning the role of a witness;
  • A consistent point of contact within the CDPP for the duration of the prosecution process;  
  • Support during meetings with prosecutors;
  • Court familiarisation tours;
  • Support at court;
  • Referrals to counselling and other services in the community; and 
  • Information about Victim Impact Statements

How are referrals made to the WAS?

Referrals to the WAS are made by prosecutors in accord WAS Referral Guidelines, also known as a National Legal Direction - PDF icon Witness Assistance Service Referral Guidelines

Who does the WAS work with?

The WAS Referral Guidelines aim to ensure that the most vulnerable victims of crime are referred to the WAS. Mandatory referral applies to all matters that involve identifiable child victims of crime and victims of slavery, sexual servitude and forced marriage offences.  

The WAS may also assist victims of crime involved in the matters concerning other offences types, including: terrorism; violent and sexual offences that occur on aircraft/at sea; and offences involving significant financial loss to victims.

The WAS also provides education and training to CDPP staff and external agencies.  

Contact details

The WAS may be contacted via the following numbers: (02) 9321 1100 (Sydney) and (03) 9605 4333 (Melbourne)