Instructions for preparing a witness statement
These instructions are to help you prepare a written statement. It is not legal advice. If you need more help, get
For a sample, see
Sample protected person witness statement.
Any information you give to the court should be true. If you give false information to the court you can be charged by the police. If you want to change the information that you have given to the court, you should get
If you are worried that by writing something in your statement you might be admitting to a criminal offence, you should get
Layout and headings
There is no set form for a witness statement, however, you should write your statement in a clear and logical way. You should also write the statement using your own words.
When setting out your statement is a good idea to:
- use white A4 paper
- type if possible, or use neat, clear handwriting in black or blue pen
- use only one side of the paper
- write the name of the person making the statement at the top of the page
Statement of Elizabeth Smith
There are certain things that you should include in your statement. You should write your:
address (unless you have concerns for your safety)
I, Elizabeth Smith, of 12/100 Victoria Road, Double Bay NSW 2028, born 17 September 1975, nurse, state:
I, Elizabeth Smith, of 12/100 Victoria Road, Double Bay NSW 2028, aged 36, nurse, state:
You should then include the details you want the court to consider. You can do this by using:
- short, numbered paragraphs, or
- a question and answer format.
The statement should include:
information about you and the person you want protection from (the defendant)
the name of the defendant
the address of the defendant, if known
the date of birth of the defendant, if known
the relationship between you and the defendant, for example, neighbour or de facto spouse
how long you have been in the relationship, if applicable
the names and dates of birth of any children you and the defendant have together or who live with you
whether any AVOs or other orders have been made in the past to protect you from the defendant
whether the defendant has ever been charged or convicted of any domestic violence offences
whether there is a family law court case between you and the defendant
whether there are any family law orders in place
whether the Department of Community & Justice (DCJ) is or has been involved
whether you and the defendant have any arrangements for you to spend time with your children.
information about any incidents
- whether there has been any violence or threats towards you and/or your children in the past
- any recent incidents, including places, dates, what you saw, heard, said and did
- details of any reports or statements made to the police, including any event numbers
- details of any doctors reports or treatment by a doctor or hospital relating to any injuries caused by the defendant
- evidence of any damage to property
- other useful information
the defendant's use of alcohol or drugs, if known
the defendant's access to firearms or other weapons, if known
whether there are any mental health issues
information about how you feel
- if you fear the defendant
- if you scared for your safety
If you write about a conversation you should:
- use the exact words that the person said, including swear words
- set out conversations in speech marks as accurately as possible. If you cannot remember exactly what was said you should add the phrase "words to the effect of".
I walked over to the defendant and said "You can't talk to me like that". He said "Shut-up, you're lazy and useless".
I walked over to the defendant and said "You can't talk to me like that". He said words to the effect of "Shut-up, you're lazy and useless".
Signing the statement
You must finish the statement by stating that everything you have written is the truth, for example:
This statement made by me accurately sets out the evidence that I would be prepared, if necessary, to give in court as a witness. The statement is true to the best of my knowledge and belief and I make it knowing that, if it is tendered in evidence, I will be liable to prosecution if I have wilfully stated in it anything that I know to be false or do not believe to be true.
You then need to sign and date the statement, for example:
Signed: E. Smith
Dated: 17 December 20XX
You must also have a witness sign and date the statement, for example:
Signed: A. Lagi
Dated: 17 December 20XX