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Free therapy for jurors to navigate trauma

Free therapy for jurors to navigate trauma


Pioneering pilot project offers jurors vital counselling support and 24/7 assistance after distressing court cases

In a groundbreaking move, the Ministry of Justice, in collaboration with HM Courts & Tribunals Service and Mike Freer MP, has announced a pioneering initiative to provide free therapy sessions for jurors who undergo mental and emotional strain following difficult cases.

The initiative, slated to roll out across 15 Crown Courts in England and Wales, aims to address the often-overlooked psychological toll that jury service can take on individuals, particularly after hearing distressing evidence such as murder, abuse, and cruelty.

Jurors involved in high-profile cases like the Lucy Letby trial, who may experience significant emotional distress, will now have access to specialised support. This includes six free counselling sessions and a dedicated 24/7 helpline offering triage support and information.

While many find jury service fulfilling, for those who struggle with the emotional aftermath, existing support options are limited. This initiative seeks to bridge that gap, ensuring that jurors feel supported and not isolated after fulfilling their civic duty.

Justice Minister Mike Freer emphasised the critical role jurors play in the justice system and the need to support them adequately. The pilot program, set to commence in the summer of 2024, will be closely monitored to ensure its effectiveness in providing tailored support to jurors.

The initiative has garnered praise from experts like Dr. Hannah Fawcett, Senior Lecturer in Forensic Psychology at Manchester Metropolitan University, who sees it as a positive step in addressing the psychological challenges of jury duty.

Funded by the Ministry of Justice, the pilot program underscores a commitment to prioritise juror well-being and ensure a fair and just judicial process. As it unfolds over the next ten months, it aims to lay the groundwork for sustained support for jurors across the criminal justice system.

This announcement coincides with Juror Appreciation Week, serving as a testament to the nation's gratitude for the invaluable contribution of jurors in upholding the principles of justice.