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Background Info

At present, people with speech disabilities, who are unable to use British Sign Language (BSL), struggle to access the legal system. Social work departments can carry out adult protection enquires, which is fair enough but getting an incident to court is impossible for people with speech disabilities.

People with communication problems need to be supported to access the justice system when they require it. If people are unable to give days, dates, times, places of a crime, they cannot get full police involvement in a case, so the legal system needs to be able to come to their level of ability, to give them a power to be heard. For many, Makaton, which is a language programme that uses symbols, signs and speech, is an easier way to communicate than BSL.

All parts of the justice system should ensure that people of all abilities can access them. Ensuring that the legal system can use Makaton sign language will allow people with speech disabilities to be heard and more importantly understood. 

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