Logo for Signhealth, the deaf charity

Search the site

Emma was arrested and wrongly accused of assault. With the help of SignHealth’s Advocacy service, Emma understood what was happening in proceedings and could make her voice heard.

When Emma* was arrested, she had no idea how the legal system worked. She’d never been taught it.

Her solicitor sent letters to her in formal, legal English and she found them impossible to understand.

It was difficult to tell her solicitor what she wanted to say and do because she had very little ability to speak, and the solicitor had no understanding of sign language. She wouldn’t be prepared for what would happen in court.

A SignHealth advocate stepped in to explain the legal process. He helped Emma understand the letters from her solicitor by explaining them in sign language. The advocate explained how to behave in court and how to ask for an interpreter so she could follow proceedings and respond in her own words.

The advocate stuck by Emma throughout the process, offering support and advice.

Without SignHealth’s help, Emma might be serving a prison sentence now … for a crime she didn’t commit … after a trial she didn’t understand.

* To protect the identity of our client, no real names or photos have been used.

Why does SignHealth provide an advocacy service?

In difficult situations there are often barriers that make it difficult to get the information and support we need to make our case. Our advocates enable Deaf people to defend their rights and have their views and wishes genuinely considered when decisions are being made about their lives.

We are working towards a future without barriers to good health and wellbeing for all Deaf people.