Achieving Best Evidence in Criminal Proceedings (ABE) in Adult’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.

Safeguarding is everybody’s responsibility – not just the Police. Indeed some vulnerable and/or intimidated victims of abuse and exploitation do not want to speak with the Police. They may come from backgrounds which has eroded their confidence in the police, but this should not preclude them from being able to access justice.

The current Code of Practice for victims of crime entitles vulnerable / intimidated victims to an enhanced service by those professionals enquiring into the matter. One limb of this entitlement is potential access to Special Measures designed to maximise the quality of that victim’s evidence. This demands compliance with the Ministry of Justice’s guidance, ‘Achieving Best Evidence in Criminal Proceedings’ (often referred to as: ‘ABE’). The guidance is clear: “The decision as to who leads the interview should depend on who is able to establish the best rapport with the [vulnerable or intimidated interviewee]”.  Elsewhere in the guidance it is equally specific: “Provided both the police officer and social worker have been adequately trained to interview [the vulnerable or intimidated victim/witness] in accordance with the guidance set out in this document, there is no reason why either should not lead the interview”.

Many of our trainers’ delegates have said how beneficial (if not essential) this training is in their day-to-day interactions with adult service users as well as making a significant contribution to their Section 42 (Care Act) enquiries.

Options available include:

  • 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 a 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!

Not sure what ABE course you might need?

Don’t worry. We are able to set up a direct phone call or Skype with our lead ABE trainer to discuss your requirements and the development of your bespoke ABE course. This service is provided free of charge. Please contact us here to arrange your free call.

Who is the course aimed at?

Suitable for:

-Experienced Social Workers who have undertaken training in Adult protection, including sexual abuse and who wish to undertake video interviews 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 competent witness (under Section 53 Youth Justice & Criminal Evidence Act) and explain (and expand) that definition against a backdrop of case-law, recent legislative changes and Special Measures
  • 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.
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.