RMIT’s Centre for Innovative Justice (CIJ) has created a critical new online resource designed to help people with cognitive impairment and intellectual disabilities receive fairer treatment in Victoria’s criminal justice system, Mirage News reports.
Supportingjustice.net was launched virtually by Victorian Minister for Disability, Ageing and Carers, Luke Donnellan, and CIJ Director Rob Hulls on Tuesday 26 May.
This critical new resource has been designed with input from people with disability and lived experience of the criminal justice system to help transform the way people with disability are treated in the court system.
CIJ Associate Director, Research, Innovation and Reform Stan Winford said while people with a disability are over-represented in our criminal justice system, they are rarely recognised or responded to appropriately and on the whole are under-supported.
“The primary focus of the Supporting Justice website is to help lawyers and court professionals learn how to recognise the signs of disability in the first instance, gain an understanding of the criminal justice system experience of people with a disability, and offer appropriate needs-based support that will ultimately lead to fairer outcomes,” Winford said.
The website provides practical resources for lawyers, judicial officers and court professionals to better respond to people with autism spectrum disorder, cognitive impairment, intellectual disability and dual disability.
It also connects support workers, people with disability and their carers with resources to help with seeking legal advice, preparing for court and getting support while at court.
People with a cognitive impairment are severely over-represented in the criminal justice system. One study by Corrections Victoria, for example, found 42% of male prisoners and 33% of female prisoners have an acquired brain injury. This compares to less than 3% of the general population.