Who do intermediaries work with?
A defendant can be deemed vulnerable due to their age or because of incapacity such as a learning disability, communication difficulty or mental health needs.
In 2007 Bryant found that the incidence of communication problems was higher in offenders than in the general population. A research study at Polmont Young Offenders Institute found that 70% had significant communication problems (Polmont, 2007)
With some defendants, their communication difficulties are very apparent. There may be reports such as school reports, psychology reports etc. But with some defendants their needs are hidden. Their language and communication skills may not have been assessed for a variety of reasons such as lack of engagement within the education system. These defendants may find it difficult to attend and concentrate or to retain information. They are often adept at hiding a lack understanding and may rarely indicate that they have not understood as well as showing a tendency to agree with what is said.
If any of these difficulties apply to a defendant you are representing it is advised to seek an assessment by an intermediary who can advise on the best ways of communicating with the client and if an intermediary would be of benefit to them (and you). Contact us today to make a request for an assessment.