Plain Language Awards

Celebrate the stories of our clearest business communicators

Finalist: Best Plain English Legal Document 2021

Ministry of Justice

Teams involved

Behavioural Science Aotearoa
and the Family Violence Sexual Violence Operational Improvements Team

Document name

Protection Order Information Packs

Judges’ comments

Jan Bowen
Overall, this is an admirable attempt at simplifying a rather complicated aspect of the law. Importantly, it is also audience appropriate. The goal is simply to give the reader the information you would wish to have if you were in that position.

Jacqueline Stephenson
The language used is mainly plain and great care has gone into making sure complex rules and processes are explained as clearly as possible. The cover sheet particularly uses creative techniques to present information.

A variety of evaluation methods were used and some are ongoing. This is excellent particularly since the target reader group typically has low rates of literacy and high rates of dyslexia.

Media statement

We are thrilled to have this important mahi acknowledged as a 2021 Plain English awards finalist.

Behavioural Science Aotearoa works to understand people better so we can make our justice system work for them. We know that ensuring messages are clear, easy to understand and quick to find strengthens the effectiveness of our messages. Protection Orders provide legal protection for people who are at risk of family violence, but legal language and jargon make them difficult to understand and comply with. This puts people at risk. Our information packs convey the same information more simply, saliently and memorably.

We are grateful to the Family Violence Operations Improvement team at the Ministry of Justice, experts from within and outside government, and to the people who had received or been granted a Protection Order who shared their experiences with us to inform the design of this pack.

Helen Aki
Behavioural Science Aotearoa, Ministry of Justice

Debbie Ferrere
Family Violence Sexual Violence Operational Improvements Team, Ministry of Justice