Communication Intermediaries across the Justice Continuum: From Police Investigative Interviews to Jury Trials.

Another very good and informative session. I will find this information very useful.
workplace investigations, government investigator, testimonial, employer duty of care, professional development for investigators
Government Investigator

Course overview

Communication Intermediaries across the Justice Continuum: From Police Investigative Interviews to Jury Trials.

Contact with the justice system as a victim, witness, suspect or defendant can be daunting. Such a person needs to be interviewed by police and then give evidence at court, which can be frightening for several reasons, especially poor understanding of legal proceedings and jargon employed by those who work in this field (police, lawyers, judges, etc.).

Many witnesses, suspects and defendants may have identified and/or unidentified communication needs that can impact their ability to interact successfully in legal proceedings and give their best evidence.

The witness intermediary scheme was initially introduced across the justice system in England and Wales in 2004. Based on this model, similar schemes were introduced in Northern Ireland (2013) and New South Wales (NSW- 2016), Australia1. Recently, witness intermediaries have been introduced in Victoria, the Australian Capital Territory, Queensland and Tasmania.

The role of the Intermediary is to independently facilitate two way communication between a vulnerable victim, witness, suspect or defendant and Police, Lawyers, Judges, and other participants in the legal process. By facilitating communication, the Intermediary ensures it is possible for the vulnerable person to provide the best evidence that is accurate and coherent.

In investigative interviews and at court, Intermediaries assess a person’s communication and provide suggestions on how questions should be altered to ensure complete evidence can be given.

The introduction of the Intermediary scheme around the world is helping improve access to Justice for some people coming into contact with the Justice System.

This presentation will describe the role of communication intermediaries across the Justice continuum and provide examples of cases where facilitation of communication was pivotal in ensuring a person’s ability to give their best evidence.

This session was originally presented during the MyKludo Virtual Investigations Conference held 6-8 December 2021.



Rukiya Stein

Rukiya Stein has been practising as an Accredited Witness Intermediary in New South Wales since April 2016. She is also an independent communication Intermediary working with children, young people and adults with both identified and unidentified communication needs. In addition to working as an Intermediary, she runs her own part- time Telehealth Speech and Language Pathology practice, she is a Clinical Educator at Australian Catholic University and she will be commencing her PhD at the University of Newcastle Law School in February 2022.

Rukiya has extensive experience working with children, young people and adults with a range of communication, language and learning needs and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander backgrounds. Being from a Culturally and Linguistically Diverse background herself, she is especially passionate about the communication needs of individuals from CALD backgrounds who come into contact with the justice system. She has worked directly with Autism, Intellectual Disabilities, Down’s Syndrome, specific language impairments, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Selective/Elective Mutism, and other language and communication needs.

She strongly believes that everyone should have equal access to justice and their communication or lack of it should not be a barrier to them being able to participate fully in the justice system.