Victoria Minister for Community Services Mary Wooldridge
Justice For People With An Intellectual Disability
Victor P Taffa
Minister for Community Services Mary Wooldridge has welcomed the Government initiated Parliamentary inquiry into access to and interaction with the justice system by people with an intellectual disability.
“We know that for people with an intellectual disability, their families and carers, the Justice System can be a frightening and confusing place.” Ms. Wooldridge said.
“The Courts, Police and Legal systems play a vital role in safeguarding the rights of all Victorians and it is important that all people have confidence in the system.
“That is why the Coalition Government introduced to Parliament a reference asking the Law Reform Committee to investigate and report on the access and interaction of people with an intellectual disability, their families, and their carers with the Justice System.” Ms. Wooldridge said.
The inquiry will consider key areas including participants’ knowledge of their rights, interaction with the Police, the availability of appropriate services and supports, and the operation of the Courts.
The inquiry will also examine measures, within Australia and internationally, to improve access and interaction with the Justice System.
This will include methods to enhance participation in the justice system, deliver just and equitable outcomes, facilitate collaborative and co-ordinated approaches and provide responses to address the circumstances of offenders and offences concerned.
“I encourage the Committee to actively engage with people with intellectual disabilities, their families and carers and the disability sector to ensure their voices are heard.” Ms. Wooldridge said.
“This inquiry comes at a time when recent evidence from the Public Advocate shows that many Victorians with a disability who had suffered violence had been ignored under a decade of Labor.”
“The Coalition Government will work to build a Justice System that better supports people with disabilities and delivers better outcomes for individuals and families.”
TERMS OF REFERENCE:
To the Law Reform Committee for inquiry, consideration and report no later than 30 March 2012 on access to and interaction with the justice system by people with an intellectual disability and their families and carers, including:
(a) Key issues and themes, including but not limited to:
(i) Participants knowledge of their rights;
(ii) Availability of appropriate services and supports;
(iii) Dealings with the Police;
(iv) The operation of the courts;
(b) Measures within Australia and internationally to improve access to, and interaction with, the justice system, including but not limited to measures that seek to:
(i) Break down barriers to the justice system and enhance participation;
(ii) Deliver just and equitable outcomes;
(iii) Facilitate collaborative and co-ordinated approaches across Government Departments and agencies;
(iv) Provide responses that address the circumstances of the offender and offence concerned.