Applications are invited to join the register of pre-qualified suppliers with suitable qualifications (panel) for the Queensland Intermediary Scheme Pilot Program.
The Department of Justice and Attorney-General, in response to recommendations of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, is establishing a witness intermediary scheme to assist witnesses in child sexual offence investigations and prosecutions to give their best evidence.
Applications are sought from individuals with qualifications in speech pathology, psychology, occupational therapy or social work.
The role of the intermediary is to facilitate communication between the witness and police and/or the witness and courts. The role of the intermediary is to:
- assess witness communication and describe any specific communication assistance required;
- provide practical strategies on how to best communicate with the witness and how to pose a question to get the most reliable evidence;
- inform directions hearings, where applicable, to establish court communication guidelines for a vulnerable witness; and
- write court reports on an individual’s communication needs.
The scheme will operate as a two-year pilot in two locations (Brisbane and Cairns regions). Travel within the two regions may be required. See Brisbane map and Cairns map.
The scheme applies to any child sexual offence prosecution witness who:
- Is under 16 years, or
- Is a person with an impairment of the mind, or
- Has difficulty communicating.
Intermediaries can be engaged from police investigation through to court hearing. They will be required to act in emotionally challenging cases involving child sexual offences and will be exposed to detailed information about child sexual offences.
Given the potentially distressing nature of cases requiring an intermediary, potential candidates who have serious reservations about being involved in such cases should consider whether to apply.
Intermediaries may be asked to assess, and sometimes attend an interview with, a witness at short notice. Panel members will be required to be flexible and organised in order to meet these time commitments. Some evening and weekend work may be required.
Further information on the Queensland Intermediary Scheme can be obtained by clicking the link here.
Applications to join the panel of intermediaries on the Queensland Intermediary Scheme pilot program may be made by completing the application form on the link here.