Better access to legal information for the Deaf community

The Deaf community will have better access to information about their legal rights thanks to an initiative by Auckland Disability Law, part of the Community Law network.

As part of New Zealand Sign Language Week, Community Law has launched New Zealand Sign Language translations of its website content on employment, including information on people’s rights as an employee and how to resolve problems.

Community Law Centre O Aotearoa Chief Executive Elizabeth Tennet says the new content provides important information to a vulnerable group who can be discriminated against by some employers.

“This New Zealand Sign Language content will give more confidence to those within the Deaf community to enter and stay in the workforce, knowing their rights and responsibilities.

“Over time Community Law hopes to provide more New Zealand Sign Language content on our website – – including on consumer, tenancy and family law. Our website already receives 1.5 million hits per year and it is an invaluable tool for New Zealanders to know their rights.”

Sign Language Week

The content was developed with funding from the New Zealand Sign Language Fund, as part of Auckland Disability Law’s work to promote the Deaf community’s access to legal services and to increase their awareness of their rights in the workplace.

Jeff Went, Deaf community leader, says there are around 9,000 members of the Deaf community nationally with more than 20,000 New Zealanders using New Zealand Sign Language daily.

“New Zealand Sign Language has been an official language in New Zealand for 10 years now, and the more it is used and encouraged, the more inclusive we can be as a society. This New Zealand Sign Language content around employment law is a positive for the Deaf community.

“It’s great that Auckland Disability Law and Community Law want to ensure the Deaf community has access to information about their legal rights in their first language.”

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