For many people, going to court is a frightening and bewildering prospect. Navigating court can be particularly challenging for people who have a low level of literacy or living with a disability. That is why TLA is proud to have been involved in producing a 4-part video series called “Going to Court”.
The videos provide a realistic understanding of the court environment, what processes have to be followed, and how they should interact with magistrates and other court personnel.
While produced with a focus on assisting people with low literacy and/or disability, the videos are also useful for anyone engaging with the Magistrates Court.
The videos were a collaboration between TLA and the Association for Children with Disability (Tas) Inc. (ACD), Brain Injury Association of Tasmania (BIAT), Equal Opportunity Tasmania, Magistrates Court of Tasmania, Dept. of Justice and Speak Out Advocacy.
Tasmania has the highest proportion of people living with a disability and the lowest rates of functional literacy in Australia. A high proportion of people who attend the Magistrates Court, whether as a defendant, complainant or witness, have low literacy and/or live with a disability. Research shows that traumatic brain injury is a significant public health problem which disproportionately affects subgroups of the population, such as those who come into contact with the criminal justice system. As many as 80% of adult prisoners report a history of traumatic brain injury.
Quality, accessible, and accurate information is pivotal in people exercising genuine choice and control and engaging effectively with services. The videos will help people better understand their rights and responsibilities, and to navigate and participate in the court system more effectively. Making practical information available in an accessible form reduces the stress and uncertainty that many people feel when they attend court for the first time. It will also inform people with a disability of the services that are available to assist them in attending court.
Involvement in this project reflects our commitment to provide legal services that help Tasmanians understand their rights, navigate the system to resolve their legal issues, get the assistance they need and to support and advocate for vulnerable and marginalised Tasmanians.