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How to Begin Writing a Witness Statement

Updated April 17, 2017

A witness is someone who was involved in a case either as a bystander or as a participant. A witness statement is a written document by the witness, which provides insight into a case. It can serve to correlate statements or claims by either defendants or plaintiffs and can provide character validation of those involved. It can also be notarised and used as a legal affidavit.

Compose your thoughts. Think about the events as they unfolded, and focus on your own observations. Don't draw conclusions or make assumptions. Simply talk about what you experienced. Use your five senses and don't overlook "minor" details such as weather conditions and smells.

Get your facts straight. Double-check the date and time that you experienced the event. After formulating your thoughts and details, write the report using complete sentences and straightforward style. This is not an English composition: the statement should be simple, but be sure to proofread for basic grammar and chronology.

Include your full legal name (as it appears on your birth certificate), permanent address, local temporary address, and your phone number and e-mail address. Also indicate who asked you to write the report, your relationship to the event, and the location of your writing.

Sign and date the witness statement at the bottom. While a witness is not always necessary, it's an excellent precaution if someone is available to cosign (and date) your witness statement.

Tip

Refer to the "Resources" section for a sample to guide you in writing your witness statement.

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About the Author

Rebecca High graduated from Cedarville University, with a B.A. in international studies. As a university student she wrote and edited for "Cedars," the campus newspaper, and was published twice in the "Kamelian," the literary journal of Kishwaukee Community College. She attended the World Journalism Institute convergence course 2009 taught by journalists including Pulitzer Prize-winning Manny Garcia. She has written reviews for Sazze.com