People with disabilities are over-represented in the criminal justice system as accused persons, and also face significant challenges as witnesses and victims of crime. This less favourable treatment combined with the inherent vulnerability of people with disability increases the likelihood of a conviction compared to people without a disability. People with disabilities experience challenges in accessing appropriate legal help and exercising their rights, and can also experience higher rates of incarceration than other people.
In spite of law reform efforts to strengthen the rights of victims of crime who have a cognitive impairment, there are still significant barriers in prosecuting these cases. People with disabilities should have the same rights, opportunities and choices as people without a disability but this does not appear to be the case.
This session will explore themes such as:
- What happens to people with disabilities within the criminal justice system?
- How does the legal system inhibit or facilitate cases involving people with disabilities?
- What reforms are required?
Tuesday 27th March, 2012: 3:00am - 4:00am
Jessica Richter, Lawyer, Victoria Legal Aid
Jessica is the criminal law section’s “client group expert” for clients with intellectual disabilities. This means that as well as working primarily as a legal representative for clients who have disabilities, she has developed specialist knowledge and relationships around this client group and the disability sector so that she can be a resource for other practitioners who act for clients with an intellectual disability.Photo of Jessica Richter, Lawyer, Victoria Legal Aid
Kerry Stringer, Chair, Victorian Coalition of ABI Service Providers (VCASP)
Kerry has extensive experience in the disability sector and is passionate about working with people with disability and complex needs. Over the past 12 months Kerry has chaired the Victorian Coalition of ABI Service Providers (VCASP).Photo of Kerry Stringer, Chair, Victorian Coalition of ABI Service Providers (VCASP)
Peter has worked in disability services throughout his working life including day and recreational services, community residential programs and institutions. Following a two year stint in China, he worked for the Office of the Public Advocate and the Department of Human Services, before coming to Corrections in 2002.Photo of Peter Persson,
Patrick McGee, Coordinator, Aboriginal Justice Campaign, Ofice for the Public Advocate (OPA)
Patrick has been working in the field of disability for twenty-four years starting out in a government run institution for people with an intellectual disability in 1988. During this period, Patrick completed a certificate in mental retardation nursing.Photo of Patrick McGee, Coordinator, Aboriginal Justice Campaign, Ofice for the Public Advocate (OPA)
Ben von Einem, Case Work & Policy Lawyer, Villamanta Disability Rights Legal Service
Ben has worked in private practice and as a university lecturer, published legal publications and has particular expertise and experience in the area of criminal law.Photo of Ben von Einem, Case Work & Policy Lawyer, Villamanta Disability Rights Legal Service