Assistance for Suspects, Victims, and Witnesses with Communication Needs
In dealing with criminal offences, there are some rights and processes for people who have a range of different communication needs. This includes witnesses, suspects and victims. Some of those rights are covered in the Law Handbook under various sections. The main sections on this are:
- Sexual offences where the victim has a cognitive impairment (for example an intellectual disability)
- Interviewing suspects with complex communication needs
- Interviewing vulnerable witnesses
- Evidence of vulnerable witnesses through audio visual record
- Preliminary examination
- Evidence of a close relative
Uniting Communities Communication Partner Service
The Uniting Communities Communication Partner Service is available for lawyers, police and those in the criminal justice system to use when interviewing children or adults with complex communication needs.
The service is run by trained, independent volunteers and can assist victims, witnesses, suspects and defendants involved in criminal matters for any criminal offence where they have complex communication needs.
The on-call service telephone line operates 7 a.m. - 10 p.m, seven days a week. Contact Uniting Communities Communication Partner Service on 1800 615 677 or visit the Uniting Communities website for more information.
Communication partners observe and note communication barriers and recommend strategies and adjustments to the interview and court process in order to enable those with complex communication needs to effectively participate in the interview or legal process.
Communication partners are not advocates, interpreters or support workers, and it is not their role to give legal advice to the victim, witness, suspect or defendant.
The content of the Law Handbook is made available as a public service for information purposes only and should not be relied upon as a substitute for legal advice. See Disclaimer for details. For free and confidential legal advice in South Australia call 1300 366 424.