Below are some examples of communication aids and adaptations used by intermediaries.
Many of the strategies used by intermediaries to enable people to give best evidence appear simple. Often offering visual choices can be a powerful tool in assisting communication. It can be of use if people are highly anxious and find it hard to gather their thoughts, but can also assist children or other people who may not have learnt concepts, or are no longer able to put their thoughts into words.
Intermediaries often use a ‘gingerbread man’ drawing so that witnesses can show which part of their body something happened to. This is helpful for witnesses who don’t know the word for that body part, or feel too anxious to say.
Intermediaries and barristers often work together to come up with ways to put complex questions into simple language. Typically intermediaries sit right next to the person they are working with- in the witness box, in the video link, or within the dock or court room. That way, they can clearly identify difficulties with communication, alert the court, and suggest potential solutions.
For more detailed case studies that illustrate the work of intermediaries visit our Resources section here. These can be searched by the type of case and age of person for relevance.
The following articles also give further insight in to intermediary work:
- Helping child witnesses: 'One girl gave evidence with hamster on her lap' - Guardian
- Using technology to assist communication: 'Dying man with MND gives evidence against sex abuser using eye motion software in court' - Independent
- 'Providing a voice for the voiceless at court': First hand account of the work of Registered Intermediaries who help vulnerable people give evidence in court - Esther Rumble, Registered Intermediary