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If someone hurts you by stealing your property, hitting you or having sex with you against your wishes, it is a crime. It hurts you and it is against the law. It is the job of the police to try and protect you.
If the police think you need help talking to them they can call an intermediary to listen and help. You can hear about special measures that will make you feel safer. Special measures are:
- using an intermediary to help the witness understand questions and to help the court understand the witness’s answers
- live television link between the courtroom and another room where the witness gives evidence
- people in the court taking off their wigs and gowns
- screens used around the witness box so that the witness does not see the defendant
- the video recording of the witness’s statement to the police – this is shown to the court.
Aids to communication can also be used to support witnesses in police interviews and in court. Aids include pencil and paper, pictures, symbol systems and signing.
Sometimes, members of the public are asked to leave the courtroom when the witness gives evidence. This measure can only be used in cases of sexual offences or when someone has tried, or might try, to frighten the witness.
In healthcare settings, good communication with the patient, and with their supporter, is crucial to good safe treatment and care. Too often, misunderstandings of a patient’s condition or behaviour have led to healthcare professionals missing a crucial diagnosis or refusing to treat a patient, and patients suffering unnecessarily and even dying as a result. Taking the time and using effective communication tools to explore the patient’s physical symptoms and their feelings in a way that is sensitive and appropriate to them will help hospital staff to make the correct diagnosis and keep the patient safe.
Many people with learning disabilities use signs or symbols (e.g. Makaton) instead of speech or to support speech. The patient’s supporter should be able to interpret whatever communication system the patient uses. Hospital staff can also be creative and use whatever additional tools work best, for examples pictures, posters or sample objects. The pictures in this app are an example of a how you can support your verbal communication with the patient.
Before going for a health appointment it will be useful to talk about what will happen. Make sure you understand what the procedure is, what it is for, and any risks and benefits of having it.
If you are supporting someone to go to a healthcare appointment, you might want to help them
- explore their feelings
- prepare for the procedure
- understand what will happen after the procedure
- prepare for further checks, if these are necessary
Pictures, like the ones on this app can help to explain some of the things that may happen.
Supporters are encouraged to contact the ward, clinic or surgery before the appointment so that an individual’s special needs can be considered. At the same time, supporters can arrange a visit with the individual.
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