The Coroner's involvement in a death occurs at a time of great personal distress for the family and friends of that person. The Coronial Information and Support Program (CISP) is available to provide information and support to persons affected by deaths reported to the Coroner in New South Wales. CISP staff also facilitate communication between the Coroner and persons who have contact with the coronial jurisdiction.
The services provided by CISP are as follows:
- Assisting next of kin and those who have contact with the coronial jurisdiction to understand the role and legal powers of the Coroner.
- Assisting next of kin and those who have contact with the coronial jurisdiction to understand coronial processes (for example, how information is gathered for the Coroner, how to access the post mortem report, how decisions are made regarding the holding or dispensing with inquests).
- With the permission of the Coroner, providing support to next of kin if sensitive information, for example photographs, forensic reports, videos, or CCTV footage are being viewed.
- Providing general information about the inquest process. This can include court familiarisation and practical information about attending Court and emotional support during inquest proceedings (for example, ensuring appropriate breaks and provision of private space during the giving or hearing of distressing evidence). CISP however cannot provide legal advice.
- Providing specific support and preparation to family and friends if they are to appear as a witness at a coronial inquest.
- Advising family and friends of other appropriate services as needed.
- Providing education around the role of the Coroner and the provisions of the Coroners Act to various professional and community groups having contact with, or an interest in, the coronial jurisdiction.