The Report focuses on people with disabilities who need communication supports or who have complex and multiple support needs and who have come in contact with the criminal justice system. Negative assumptions and attitudes, coupled with a lack of support services and minimal provision of adjustments, often means that people with disabilities are viewed as not credible, not capable of giving evidence or unable to participate in legal proceedings. As a result many are left without effective access to justice. The Report proposes that in light of the substantial challenges that exist, each jurisdiction in Australia should develop an holistic, over-arching response to these issues through a Disability Justice Strategy. The Disability Justice Strategy should address a core set of principles and include fundamental actions that are concerned with appropriate communications, early intervention and diversion, increased service capacity, effective training, enhanced accountability and monitoring, and better policies and frameworks.
National list of programs and services
The Australian Human Rights Commission developed an interim national list of programs and services that assist people with disability in the criminal justice system.
The list of services can be found here.
For more information
- News story - Commission calls for all states and territories to introduce disability justice strategy
- Issues Paper
- Easy English version of Issues Paper (PDF), Easy English version of Issues Paper (Word)
- Audio recording of Issues Paper
- DLA Piper Background Paper
- University of New South Wales and PricewaterhouseCoopers paper on People with mental health disorders and cognitive impairment in the criminal justice system: Cost-benefit analysis of early support and diversion
The Australian Human Rights Commission acknowledges the generous contribution of DLA Piper in providing pro bono support in accompanying the Commission during their consultations and compiling a background paper on access to justice for people with disability.
The Commission would also like to thank the University of New South Wales for its support in hosting the Commission’s Access to Justice Roundtable in April 2013. We would also like to thank Professor Eileen Baldry and John Walsh AM of PricewaterhouseCoopers for undertaking a cost-benefit analysis of early support and diversion.