Groundbreaking report launched on access to justice for Deaf people in Northern Ireland
On the 11th of December, BDA NI, and leading Deaf researchers, will be releasing a groundbreaking report on the barriers Deaf people face when trying to access justice in Northern Ireland.
The report follows a 2 year pilot project based in Northern Ireland, managed by BDA NI, a leading Deaf people’s organisation, in collaboration with Queen’s University Belfast, Syracuse University College of Law and Rowan University. The work was made possible through the Disability Research on Independent Living and Learning (DRILL) programme and the National Lottery Community Fund.
Article 13 United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) states that disabled people have the right to effectively access justice.
Deaf people are denied access to justice for many reasons. Sign language users face significant language barriers when adequate access is not provided.
The report, and supporting resources, investigate these barriers and make a series of practical recommendations for rectifying the issues that the researchers unearthed.
Majella McAteer from BDA NI stated, “this is a hugely significant piece of work. While some barriers to the justice system in Northern Ireland had previously been identified, until now there has been a lack of comprehensive research on this issue. This is the first step, and we are now faced with the challenge of implementing these recommendations”.
A member of the Deaf Advisory Group said that, “as a Deaf person, it has been thrilling to be involved in the Deaf Advisory Group for this project, and having an input in the co-production of this report over the last 2 years ensures it will impact on the lives of Deaf people. I believe the event and the report will raise awareness and ultimately lead to better service for all Deaf people in Northern Ireland.”
Mr Justice Colton, Chairman of the Judicial Studies Board, said, “I warmly commend the work of the BDA in Northern Ireland in producing this important piece of research in which a significant number of judicial office holders were happy to participate. The judiciary has since benefited from a judicial training workshop delivered by BDA NI and I trust that all that flows from the research and the subsequent awareness raising will help to bring about a continual improvement in access to justice for Deaf people in this jurisdiction and foster greater confidence in the administration of justice.”
The report, guidelines and video resources will be launched at an event at the Hilton Hotel, Belfast on 11th December at 6-9pm. For more information, please contact the BDA NI access to justice team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Notes to editors
BDA NI is a leading Deaf charity, run by and for Deaf sign language users in Northern Ireland.
Disability Research on Independent Living and Learning (DRILL) is an innovative 5 year UK wide Programme led by disabled people, for disabled people and funded by the National Lottery Community Fund (NLCF).