National and international research shows that people with disability face many barriers to accessing justice, which leads to an increased level of contact with the justice system.
The ACT has launched the Disability Justice Strategy 2019-2029, in August 2019 as a 10-year plan which aims to ensure people with disability in the ACT have equal access to justice and no one is left behind.
Over the course of the next four years the ACT will invest $4.8 million in implementing the First Action Plan under the Disability Justice Strategy. This work outlines a range of practical commitments made across government in the civil and criminal justice systems.
Work under the Disability Justice Strategy is underway with the implementation of Easy English training sessions to assist organisations to make their information accessible to all people. Also funding the Socio Legal Practice at Canberra Community Law to meet the legal and holistic needs of people engaging in the justice system; and funding supported decision making work to ensure people with disability have an alternative to substitute decision making.
Other work underway includes a range of handbooks to provide advice and guidance to justice system stakeholders on how to better support people with disability to have better outcomes.
In the new year a dedicated community of practice will commence with the first four positions allocated to key justice players to build the capacity and capability of ACT Policing, Legal Aid, Department of Public Prosecutions and the Alexander Maconochie Centre.
Four more positions over the first four-year foundational action plan.
The lived experience of people with disability with the justice system were at the core of the consultation work for the development of the Disability Justice Strategy.
It has been a collaborative process across the entire justice system and the ACT Government, particularly the Community Services and Justice and Community Safety Directorates who developed the Strategy.