Taking a victim’s perspective

Ministry of Justice: Victims of sexual violence

In response to feedback from victims and survivors of sexual violence, the Ministry of Justice asked us to develop a new website to make the court process less daunting and less stressful for them.

We began with close consultation with the audience, from reading their stories, to following a court case, to talking with many (awesome) professionals; we became clear about what was needed.

Our thinking was that we needed to create a website that was:

Very simple and clear

In its offering. When you’re under stress you don’t want to be navigating your way through lots of choices and you certainly don’t want the visual equivalent of being yelled at. Less “decoration” and more function was a clear direction we set in. The resulting white space helps introduce calm and allows you to focus on the actual content. The simple design of the website exceeded the Ministry’s goal of having a website that wouldn’t overwhelm victim-survivors.

Content was the key element

In this project. Plain and direct language was used to explain what’s involved in the court process in a simple way. We’ve used video and visual elements only where they really add value. Content is self-discoverable, and not overwhelming, with accordion-style pockets of information you can expand and contract according to your interest.

Taking the perspective of the victim.

The Ministry of Justice embraced the approach of text that was plain English; videos that showed the courtroom from the victim’s view point; and a warm, caring and down-to-earth tone of voice in all the content.

The tech:

The site is fully bi-lingual and has a SilverStripe back-end, meeting Government standards and ensuring the Ministry of Justice has total control over managing the content. It was created for mobile first, and offers several ways for user to protect their privacy.

Sometimes we needed to use common justice terms that a victim-survivor will encounter, so a glossary was developed and those terms are translated into plain English. This is a neat new feature we hope to see used on other Government websites in the future.

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