Presentation is loading. Please wait.

Presentation is loading. Please wait.

Courtroom Considerations for People with Disabilities NYC Elder Abuse Training Project.

Similar presentations

Presentation on theme: "Courtroom Considerations for People with Disabilities NYC Elder Abuse Training Project."— Presentation transcript:

1 Courtroom Considerations for People with Disabilities NYC Elder Abuse Training Project

2 American Bar Association Study Found that many abused elders did not want to bring their case to court  Dependent on abuser for care  Abuser often adult child or relative  Feared retaliation  Feared placement in nursing home

3 Other Barriers Afraid to testify in court Ashamed to have abuse aired in public Lack knowledge of rights and judicial system Failure of court staff to explain judicial process

4 Victim/Witness Assistance Programs Available in most courts Can explain court system Provide transportation Accompany witnesses in court Arrange visit to courtroom before session Acquaint elderly with special considerations of Americans with Disabilities Act

5 Americans with Disabilities Act Goal = ensure that all qualified individuals with disabilities will have equal and full access to the judicial system Qualified individuals have physical or mental impairment that limit one or more major life activity Activities include walking, seeing, hearing, learning, breathing, caring for oneself, working Many seniors qualify

6 ADA Coordinator Each court has an ADA coordinator Can assist the senior with any devices or considerations to enable better testimony Receives requests in writing or by telephone

7 Some Available Accommodations Assistive listening devices Realtime reporting Information about rights and ADA accommodations on New York County Courts website

8 Hearing Impaired Ask if person is having difficulty hearing Distortions of microphone may create hearing problems for older person Person may prefer written communication Visual cues are important Eliminate background noise if possible 3 to 6 feet away if possible Establish eye contact before speaking

9 Hearing Impaired (Continued) Speak slightly louder than normal Do not speak quickly Do not over-articulate Use short simple sentences If person does not understand, rephrase If you cannot understand, ask person to repeat Use visual cues

10 Visually Impaired Elderly may need more light to see well Glare can cause difficulty May need time to adjust to room lighting When written communication is needed  Ask if he or she needs reading glasses  Try larger print, 14 pt.  May need to move text May not look directly at you as some see better in their peripheral zones

11 Dual Sensory Impairment Many seniors have both poor vision and poor hearing Auditory strategies appropriate for them If blind and deaf use a court interpreter who knows hand spelling  Family member or friend may bias interpretation

12 General Guidelines for Assisting Elderly Victim Difficult for elderly victims to testify  May be traumatized by abuse  May be ambivalent abut acknowledging abuse  May be confused about what has happened Compassion shown by court can make testifying less traumatic

13 Courtroom Considerations A court officer may help elderly person to the stand if needed Ask if elderly witness needs water Witness tired or not feeling well? Address elder by his or her last name Let witness know that your primary concern is allowing him or her to give testimony Speak slowly and clearly Be patient in waiting for a response

14 Testimonial Capacity If question about elder’s mental capacity, questions about day, date, time and place will indicate how person is functioning If elder does not have testimonial capacity, unsworn testimony may still add valuable information

15 Scheduling Hearings Capacity of older persons may fluctuate with time of day due to  Fatigue  Intervals between meals or medication ABA study recommends that courts be flexible in scheduling hearings to accommodate these needs

16 Bed Bound Witnesses Criminal Procedures Law§190.32, and §680 give guidelines for conducting part of hearing at victim’s bedside Defense must be able to cross examine

17 Other Judicial Considerations ABA study recommends expert witnesses to testify on capacity Expedited hearings important due to age of victim  Defendant may request delay, hoping victim will be unable to testify

18 Victim Impact Statements Allow elderly victims to let court know how the crime has affected life Seniors usually less able to recover physically or financially from crime Can have devastating effects on their health and well being

Download ppt "Courtroom Considerations for People with Disabilities NYC Elder Abuse Training Project."

Similar presentations

Ads by Google