May I introduce myself – I am Holly Lane and I work for the British Deaf Association in Northern Ireland (BDA NI) as the Access and Inclusion Officer (Justice).
The BDA NI has a new project that aims to ‘Enhance Deaf People’s Communication Access to Justice’ in Northern Ireland and will work in partnership with Queen’s University (Belfast), Syracuse University College of Law and Rowan University College of Education (United States). There will be three academic researchers (one from each of the partnerships involved) and as part of their research, they will be interviewing Deaf people as well as staff working within the justice sector.
However, the project cannot succeed without your support! The BDA NI requires 6- 8 Deaf people who are interested in the justice sector or have knowledge of or experienced issues relating to justice to be part of our Deaf Advisory Group (DAG). The advisory group will play an important role in advising BDA NI and the researchers throughout the project from beginning to end. The DAG will advise on what the important issues are for Deaf people (for example; police, court and solicitors), what kind of questions we need to ask those who work in justice system (for example police officers, lawyers, solicitors, judges) and the things that we can do to help make the justice system more accessible for Deaf people.
The BDA NI is looking for Deaf people who may have some experience of these issues in the past or Deaf people who may not have experience but are very interested in being involved in the advisory group. You should be willing to make a commitment to meet up 4 times a year (expenses will be paid).
The DAG will have a direct influence on decisions about the overall project including recommendations. You will help to influence policy makers and service provision to support Deaf people to achieve independent living and equal access to justice.
The partners will create a final report in a range of accessible versions, including BSL/ISL & captioned online video. All reports will be made available electronically on the BDA NI and Disability Research Network’s websites for ease of access and wider dissemination and publicised via social media (FB and Twitter). In addition, papers will be published in academic and practitioner journals to reach a wider international audience.
The partners will host a launch event to share the findings with Deaf people, Deaf and disability organisations, policymakers and legal professionals to help ensure that evidence from the project informs the development of future policy and practice in this area.
This is a great opportunity to learn more about research and to empower the Deaf community in NI – BDA NI hope you will consider getting involved with the DAG.
Please let me know if you are interested to take part in the group and why. To be involved, please send me either a video or an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) outlining ‘Why you want to be involved and What changes you want to see in the justice sector’ (videos should be no more than five minutes and emails no more than half a page). Submissions will be treated as strictly confidential. Once responses are received, BDA NI will contact each individual to confirm their inclusion in the group (if there are too many applicants, a short informal chat will take place to assist selecting the correct people to be involved).
The deadline is on Friday 25th May 2018. The first DAG meeting will take a place week commencing 18th June.