Achieving Best Evidence in Criminal Proceedings (ABE) in Children’s Services

Course Overview

Updated in line with new Ministry of Justice ABE Guidance 2022 

Our acclaimed Achieving Best Evidence Training (ABE) has differing options tailored exactly to meet a customer’s requirements. This is a highly specialised, intensive course that complies with current ABE legal requirements.

The Ministry of Justice’s guidance, ‘Achieving Best Evidence in Criminal Proceedings’ is clear: “Provided both the police officer and social worker have been adequately trained to interview child witnesses in accordance with the guidance set out in this document, there is no reason why either should not lead the interview”. Our training maintains the child-centred approach to safeguarding – endorsed again within the guidance: “The decision as to who leads the interview should depend on who is able to establish the best rapport with the child”. Many of our trainers’ delegates have said how beneficial (if not essential) this training is in their day-to-day interactions with children and young people as well as making a significant contribution to their Section 47 enquiries

This is a 5 day intensive course for Social Workers with limited exposure to ABE. Both courses consist of 2 days theory, 2 days practice and on the 5 day model a visit and practice session at a local interview suite (where possible)

This is a course that has a major impact on our delegates and the importance of selecting the right course is paramount. For all training that includes practice, we utilize highly skilled Adult Actors who play the parts of both vulnerable Adults and Children in differing scenarios. The importance of equipping Social Workers with all the correct tools and skills cannot be stressed enough and their potential victims deserve the best level of ABE interviewing possible!

This course can be delivered in the classroom or online.

Who is the course aimed at?

Suitable for:

-Experienced Social Workers who have undertaken training in child (or Adult) protection, including sexual abuse and who wish to undertake video interviews with children and young people (or vulnerable adults) for court

-Social Workers and Police Officers who need to interview vulnerable child witnesses

-Social Workers who wish to refresh their knowledge and skills using ABE

-Social Workers and other professionals who may need to undertake assessment interviews

How long is the course?

5 days

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the course delegates will be able to:-

  • Demonstrate the ability to lead an interview whilst securing court-grade information using the four-phased interview model (as advocated within the “Achieving Best Evidence …” guidance)
  • Demonstrate the ability to be the second-interviewer and take notes during an interview
  • Define a Vulnerable and an Intimidated victim/witness
  • List and explain (in context) the Special Measures that vulnerable and Intimidated witnesses are eligible for
  • State the preferred hierarchy of questions (as advocated).
  • State the advantages (and possible disadvantages), and give examples of the four preferred question types.
  • Explain the contribution that a Registered Intermediary can make when communicating with some interviewees
  • Demonstrate the ability to comply with the guidance at the point of ‘initial contact’ with a potentially vulnerable of intimidated victim / witness
  • Develop and execute strategies for dealing with difficult situations that may occur during interviews
  • Explain (and experience) how fragile the memory is and how we, as interviewers can influence an interviewee’s recall
  • Explain the difference between recollection and recognition
  • Explain the contribution that Sexual Assault Referral Centres and their staff can make in relevant enquiries.

The new key changes to the ABE guidance from February 2022 are:- 

  • The statutory Code of Practice for Victims (Ministry of Justice, 2020) which came into force on the 1st of April 2020 and allows victims to choose the gender of their interviewer.
  • The Modern Slavery Act 2015 and the Domestic Abuse Act 2021, in order to ensure the changes introduced with this legislation are being taken into consideration throughout the process.
  • The rollout of video-recorded cross-examination for vulnerable and intimidated victims and witnesses.
  • The revised Witness Charter (Ministry of Justice 2013) which sets out the standards of service that all witnesses can expect to receive at every stage in the criminal justice process.
  • The Advocate’s Gateway ‘toolkits’, a helpful tool when preparing for trial in cases involving a witness or a defendant with communication needs.
  • The importance of a trauma-informed approach following more research and understanding gained in this area in recent years
  • Witness support that should be in place or arranged immediately after an interview.
  • Complex cases and how to include an effective and trauma-informed survivor/victim/witness engagement strategy.
Open Access 2022/23 

We are now taking bookings for open access ABE courses for 2022/23. This will be a 5 day training event and it will be delivered virtually via Zoom/MS Teams. The cost is £650 plus VAT per delegate. Please note upfront payment is required.

Please complete the form below to book your place.

5 Day ABE Course Booking Form (Virtual)

“This course was brilliant! I learnt so much which I feel will make me more confident in my practice doing general visits, S47 visits and ABEs. Tim was flexible, knowledgeable and brilliant! Thank you” –  Social Worker, Dudley

“This course should be available to ALL social workers” – Social Worker, Northamptonshire


Hello! We are able to offer the vast majority of our courses online in a virtual classroom via your preferred video conferencing platform. All of our course contents have been updated to reflect the current COVID-19 situation. To enquire about any of our courses to be delivered online please go to our ‘Contact Us’ page.