News Item

April 2018

New research report recommends improvements to structure and support for Communications Assistants Service in our justice system

Michelle Bonetti’s recently released research report “Communication Assistants (Intermediaries) Structure, training and support Lessons for New Zealand” provides a comprehensive overview of the introduction of *Communications Assistants (CAs) into the judicial system in New Zealand. And as the title suggests it makes recommendations for improving this service in the future.

Michelle’s findings and recommendations draw on her own experiences working as a CA in NZ, on her time undergoing training in the UK, and on feedback she gained from a survey she conducted with experienced intermediaries (CAs) in the UK and Australia.

At present there is no formal training, supervision or mentoring process in place for CAs in New Zealand. The report says that training and support needs should be addressed in conjunction with the need to structure the service as a whole. Lessons learnt from England and Wales show that a centralised agency would ensure a national overview for the service – with respect to its structure, governance, recruitment and training. And it would provide continuity of governance to high quality standards.

Michelle believes the CA role is vital to ensuring access for all in the Justice System.


The report: Communication Assistants (Intermediaries) Structure, training and support Lessons for New Zealand

*CAs provide communication assistance for vulnerable people in justice settings

Law Foundation provided $9,790 for this research report and the development of a Communication Assistant Handbook