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Youth defendant lawyers sought for research

12 October 2017

A University of Auckland researcher wants to hear from lawyers and youth advocates who have been involved when a communication assistant has been used in court proceedings or family group conferences.

Clinical psychology doctoral student Kelly Scott says she is conducting evaluative research into the new and evolving role of the communication assistant (usually a speech language therapist) in the criminal justice system.

"Communication assistants are being appointed in increasing numbers to assist communication impaired defendants as awareness of their role and of the communication difficulties young defendants may face increases," she says.

Her research involves two components: interviewing professionals who have been present when a communication assistant has been used, and interviewing the young people themselves and their whānau members.

Ms Scott wants to hear from lawyers and youth advocates who are willing to participate in a one-hour interview. She says the interviews will be audio recorded and take place at a time and accessible location of the participant's choosing.

"I am based in Auckland but can travel to your location," she says. Participants will receive a $20 petrol voucher in appreciation of their time.

Anyone who is interested in participating can contact Kelly Scott by emailing

Last updated on the 16th September 2019