Communicourt intermediaries resource for PTSD
Recently, we worked with Communicourt to create a resource to support their intermediaries with clients affected by PTSD or C-PTSD to provide a deeper understanding of how trauma, PTSD or C-PTSD can impact an individual. You can view the final document that was created here.
Communicourt was founded in 2011 to ensure fairness for people with communication needs in the justice system.
The Communicourt intermediaries are communication specialists, who work with people to help them understand the legal processes they are going through. They recruit intermediaries from a range of professional disciplines, including speech and language therapy and psychology. All of the intermediaries carry out significant training and continuing professional development for this specialised role.
At PTSD UK, we know all too well that PTSD and C-PTSD can render an individual unable to properly process their traumatic experience, which may result in symptoms such as flashbacks, nightmares, feelings of alienation, diminished empathy, or avoidance of reminders of the initial trauma. The multitude of symptoms that result can mean that criminal proceedings can be difficult, and in fact, be further traumatising if not handled carefully. In order to support a client with PTSD or C-PTSD it’s vital a relationship with a strong sense of trust is gained, and so we worked with Communicourt to create a resource to support their intermediaries with clients affected by PTSD or C-PTSD to help garner that connection and provide a deeper understanding of how trauma, PTSD or C-PTSD can impact an individual.
The role of intermediaries is impartial, and their duty is to the court. They receive referrals directly from solicitors, and funding from Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunal Service (HMCTS) for all family court and criminal trials, and the Legal Aid Agency for criminal assessments.
Communicourt supports the justice system at all levels, advising police officers, lawyers, judges, magistrates, witness service supporters, court personnel and probation officers – to maximise communication effectiveness during proceedings.
They often assist lawyers in planning how to ask questions when a defendant gives evidence, or suggest ways in which the environment for questioning could be adapted to minimise anxiety so that the person can give their best evidence.
Importantly, they seek to support the service user, whilst acting as an impartial officer of the court. Their sole job is to facilitate communication between all parties.
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Treatments for PTSD
It is possible for PTSD to be successfully treated many years after the traumatic event occurred, which means it is never too late to seek help. For some, the first step may be watchful waiting, then exploring therapeutic options such as individual or group therapy – but the main treatment options in the UK are psychological treatments such as Eye Movement Desensitisation Reprogramming (EMDR) and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT).
Traumatic events can be very difficult to come to terms with, but confronting and understanding your feelings and seeking professional help is often the only way of effectively treating PTSD. You can find out more in the links below, or here.