Publications

Below are the publications that SOLD have produced. We are working towards developing a comprehensive pack of resources including guidance for professionals, and easy read information for service users which are intended to improve fair and equal access to the criminal justice system. Please use the links for more information and to download them for free.

VISUAL SUPPORT CARDS

Representing clients with communication support needs in custody – A resource to accompany the SOLD Practice Guide for Defence Solicitors in Scotland

“I didn’t understand you could say ‘no comment’ when they asked you stuff.  I thought you had to answer all their questions straight away.  They had read me my rights, it’s just I didn’t really understand what they were saying to me, I just said ‘aye’” (Member of SOLD user group)

We published A Practice Guide For Defence Solicitors In Scotland: Representing Clients With Communication Support Needs, three years ago. Our principal aim is to help ensure that nobody in the justice system is at a disadvantage because they have a communication support need and the Practice Guide was developed to assist solicitors provide the best possible quality of service and legal representation to their clients who have communication support needs (CSN).

These cards have been produced with support from a speech and language therapist to compliment the Practice Guide. The idea is to augment verbal communication with a client by using visual aids. There are six sets of cards for various situations.

The aims are:

  • To help the accused person understand the custody process and what is going to happen.
  • To support the accused person’s ability to recall and articulate their version of what happened.
  • To assist the solicitor to take instructions and help the client maintain concentration.
  • To help the solicitor to gauge their clients’ stress levels and get a clearer impression of their communication ability.
  • To support the accused person to remember their legal rights.

How to use:

  • Download the cards onto an electronic device or print them off.
  • You might want to laminate or use sheet protectors.
  • Place the card somewhere they can easily be seen, like a table.
  • Take it slowly and give your client lots of time.
  • You may want to leave cards such as the ‘no comment’ card, visible to a client during an interview, as a reminder to them of their rights.

Whilst these have been developed with interactions between a person with CSN and their solicitor in mind, other people, such as Appropriate Adults, may find them helpful.

Evaluation:

We want to know how these cards are used and if they are effective. We would be extremely grateful if you can complete our short questionnaire before or after you have used the cards. You can access it here https://forms.office.com/e/N3Z8tdmWD9

Alternatively, please get in touch with one of the SOLD development workers with your comments. Thanks.

You can download the cards here:

ABOUT Visual Support Cards

Introductions

Identifying Support Needs

Caution

Check how your client is coping

Explaining what has been said

Explaining what will happen next

Visual Support Cards combined

Download publication (pdf)

SOLD CONFERENCE APRIL 2022; I WISH I COULD BE BACK IN PRISON! COMMUNITY-BASED SUPPORT FOR OFFENDERS WITH COMMUNICATION SUPPORT NEEDS

This conference highlighted the challenges faced by people with Communication Support Needs (CSN) after release from prison or a non-custodial alternative. We explored what best practice in community support looks like and how policy and practice might be developed to improve services and reduce offending.

The report from the conference describes how, without support, people with CSN are at increased risk of struggling to manage daily living and deal with issues that may have led to offending, and subsequently may be at higher risk of reoffending. It outlines how we drew upon the Good Lives Model, to focus on some key areas that are fundamental to achieving a fulfilling life. It also indicates how the conference theme fitted well with some key concerns for Justice policy.

The report summarises the inputs from key speakers including those with lived experience; the Scottish Government; Community Justice Scotland; Social Work Scotland; Lord Justice Clerk. It also sets out what delegates said worked well in each of the key areas.
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Cover - Practice Guide for Defence Solicitors

A Practice Guide for Defence Solicitors in Scotland: representing clients with communication support needs

Our practice guide was produced by the SOLD Network in collaboration with our justice partners. It aims to provide helpful advice on guidance for defence solicitors when the client they are representing has communication support needs.

It provides advice on how to recognise when a person has difficulty with communication, how to communicate more effectively, and information on the various supports that may be available to help.

The guide draws on insights from experienced defence solicitors, people with lived experience, and other workers with experience of supporting people in the justice system.

Download publication (pdf)

See our online training course:
Supporting People’s Communication Needs

Supporting Offenders with Learning Disabilities - In Police Custody - Findings Report

Improving Support for the Accused Person with a Learning Disability – In Police Custody

This report collates the input from keynote speakers and feedback from delegates who attended the SOLD conference ‘Improving support for the accused person with a learning disability in police custody’, held on 27th March 2017 in Edinburgh.

This was a follow-up event to the one we held previously in August 2016, and focused access to support in police custody. The purpose of the event was to address two main questions:

How best to identify that a person in police custody needs support with communication?
What is the best way to support that person?

The conference was fully subscribed and was attended by 90 delegates, all of whom have an interest in the criminal justice system.

Download publication (pdf)

Guidance for using SOLD Easy Read guides

The SOLD user group have produced a series of easy read guides aimed at people with learning disabilities. These guides cover different aspects of the criminal justice system in Scotland and draw on the members’ own experiences.

However, it should be remembered that not every person with a learning disability is able to use Easy Read; most people with learning disabilities will require additional support to access information, via support workers or carers, and some may also require information in audio or video formats.

Simply passing someone with a learning disability information set out in an easy read format does little on its own to guarantee understanding. When these guides are being used by someone passing through the justice system they should be used as a complement to 1-to1 personalised support.

Download publication (pdf)
Arrest - Easy Read Guide front cover

Arrest – an easy read guide

This guide explains what happens when a person is arrested by the police. And it does it in a way that is easy to understand.

The guide gives information about:

  • Being arrested
  • At the police station
  • What the police will need from you
  • Police interview
  • What happens next
Download publication (pdf)
Imporoving Support for people with learning disabilities - from arrest to court

Improving support for people with learning disabilities – From Arrest to Court

This report collates the feedback from delegates who attended the SOLD conference ‘Improving support for the accused person with a learning disability from arrest through to court’, held on 24th August 2016 in Edinburgh.

This event focused on access to support from the point of arrest to the conclusion of the court process. This was partly timed to coincide with the Scottish Government’s review of appropriate adult services, and partly because the SOLD User group had identified it as an important issue.

The conference was fully subscribed and was attended by 92 delegates, all of whom have an interest in the criminal justice system.

Download publication (pdf)
SOLD simplified Criminal Justice Pathway for adult offenders

Simplified Criminal Justice Pathway for adult offenders

This shows the various stages of the criminal justice system in the form of a diagram intended to make that process easier to understand and navigate.

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The Criminal Justice Pathway for People with Learning Disabilities: Challenges and opportunities for change

The Criminal Justice Pathway for People with Learning Disabilities: Challenges and opportunities for change

This report seeks to inform and guide local and national planning and practice related to improving support for people with learning disabilities whose behaviour brings them into contact with the criminal justice system and to reduce offending by them.

The report identifies 6 key challenges and the opportunities to address them.

The six key challenges identified are that-

  1. People with a learning disability who are at risk of coming into contact with the criminal justice system should receive the individual support they need to address their (potential) offending behaviour.
  2. People with a learning disability coming into contact with the criminal justice system should have access to a full range of sentencing options.
  3. There should be Information sharing protocols between different organisations in the criminal justice pathway.
  4. People with learning disabilities have the information and support they need to ensure that they are not dis-advantaged as a result of their disability.
  5. The right to a fair trial of people with a learning disability is protected.
  6. Suitable support is available to people with learning disabilities to help end the cycle of reoffending.

This report was written with the assistance of the network members.  The network also consulted with people with learning disabilities who have experience of the criminal justice system and their views are detailed in the report.

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Practice Guide for Support Staff - People with Communication Support Needs in the Scottish Criminal Justice System

Practice Guide for Support Staff – People with Communication Support Needs in the Scottish Criminal Justice System

Our Practice Guide was produced by the Supporting Offenders with Learning Disabilities (SOLD) network in collaboration with our justice partners. It aims to help support workers from all sectors who find the person with learning disabilities they support, in the criminal justice system.

It provides information about how Support Workers can make a well-informed, constructive contribution, which is valued not just by the person they support, but also by partner professionals in the criminal justice system.

See also Coronavirus (Scotland) Act 2020: information for supporting people with communication support needs

Download publication (pdf)

See our online training course:
Supporting People’s Communication Needs