The Australian Human Rights Commission is concerned that many people with disability who need communication supports or who have complex and multiple support needs are not having their rights protected, and are not being treated equally, in the criminal justice system. This is happening to children, young people and adults with disability. It is happening to people with disability who are victims of crime, accused of crimes, witnesses, defendants and offenders. It is happening in police stations, courts, prisons and juvenile institutions, and other corrective services across Australia.
This Issues Paper outlines five key barriers to justice experienced by people with disability who need communication supports or who have complex and multiple support needs. It summarises the main issues under each barrier and includes some real stories as examples. It also includes some questions about the criminal justice system and your experiences.
The Commission hopes this information and set of questions will help you to share your experiences and knowledge. These experiences will provide a much better understanding of what is and isn’t working for people with disability who need communication supports or who have complex and multiple support needs. It will help the Commission to look at what can be done to ensure access to justice for people with disability.