Victoria Police Deaf Community Videos
We recently worked with Victoria Police to develop and launch a series of video resources for the Deaf community. The videos cover what police officers do, how to seek help and interact with them, as well as important information such as what happens during an arrest.
The videos were launched on 13 March, 2019 at Expression Australia. At the launch representatives from Victoria Police, including Commander Stuart Bateson, and some of the Deaf actors in the videos discussed the background of the project and how the series was produced.
Brent Phillips, Expression Australia’s Director of Language, Partnerships and Innovation, spoke at the event about how we have all experienced times where we have to approach police officers, for good and bad reasons. “It’s important that we understand how to communicate with the police and to increase awareness amongst the Police Force around the Deaf Community’s needs in terms of communication, needing interpreters, and how to communicate until interpreters arrive.”
“We believe that this is the first project in Australia where a series of videos has been created for the Deaf community regarding the police - it’s very exciting.”, said Brent.
Commander Stuart Bateson emphasised the importance of the work to the Victoria Police: “The trust and confidence of the community which we serve is something that we must work very hard to maintain. We must listen, value, understand and respond to the needs of our community. There is not just one, there are many communities that we serve and the Deaf community is one of those”.
To produce the project Expression Australia consulted with the Deaf community to get valuable feedback, which was crucial throughout the production of the community videos. “The co-production approach that we adopted was really beneficial for us because we leveraged off the expertise of people in and from the community”, Commander Bateson said. “We listened and we understood and we hopefully developed something that's going to be quite useful.”
Deaf community member, Tony Tran, was involved in the project as an actor and gave his experience working with the Victoria Police on the project.
“I learnt about police protocol and procedure which I’ve not experienced before”, Tony said. “Particularly for Deaf people, it’s not uncommon to hear stories about Deaf people getting quite agitated because they can’t communicate with the police.”
Tony also noted that for a Deaf person "being handcuffed is quite similar to someone who uses spoken language being gagged."
The project was a long time in the making and some of the initial conversations were the result of work done by the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission (VEOHRC) and the recommendations released as part of the Beyond Doubt report about the experiences of people with disabilities and how they report crime to the police.
Commander Stuart Bateson remarked that “one of the great things to come out of this project is a better understanding of the Deaf community’s needs.”
Thanks to this project, both Deaf community members and police officers were able to value each other and work through issues together. “It was a fantastic opportunity to sit down and understand what was required and how we could go best about communicating that and making our services accessible”, said Commander Bateson.