Gardaí praised for supporting access to justice for deaf victims

A gardaí event aimed at improving access to justice for deaf victims of crime in Cork has been praised by an academic studying how deaf people interact with the criminal justice process.

Chief Superintendent Gerard Dillane of Cork North Garda Division delivered a seminar at Cork Deaf Club using a sign language interpreter.

Two more meetings are planned in the next six months, focussing on drugs and alcohol and road traffic laws respectively.

Local gardaí‎ also indicated they would consider appointing liaison officers to deal with the deaf community.

Dr Gillian Harold, a researcher at University College Cork (UCC)’s school of law, said the event‎ “could offer a very useful blueprint for future events in other Garda districts”.

She also praised gardaí for recognising “the language rights of the Irish deaf community”.

Dr Harold last year organised a round-table research event in Cork on “Access to Justice for Deaf Victims of Crime in Ireland”.

She said: “We can learn a lot from the experiences shared by the members of the Irish deaf community who participated in this research.

“One of the most significant findings is the need to improve communication awareness amongst those who assist and support Deaf victims of crime, in order to make their services more accessible.”

Dr Harold has been funded by the Irish Research Council to explore how deaf people interact with the criminal justice process.

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