Resources

Seeking volunteers to support people with disability in police interviews

Closing date: May 30, 2024

OPA’s Independent Third Persons (ITPs) are trained volunteers who attend police interviews for adults and young people with disability to ensure that they are not disadvantaged during the interview process. Police interviews often require people to comprehend complex issues and information quickly, understand their legal rights, and be able to communicate with people in positions … Continued

Call for legal aid for Australians with disability

In recent years legal aid services around the country have warned that too little government funding has left them struggling to ensure everyone can equal access to justice, regardless of income. But this year the peak body National Legal Aid is calling on the federal government to stump up a relatively-modest six million dollars to … Continued

MCM want to hear from people who have experience in the justice system and/or have a disability.

Closing date: May 15, 2024

The Allied Health team from Melbourne City Mission (MCM). MCM and Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service (VALS) are working together on 2 projects. These projects have been funded by the Commonwealth Department of Social Services and the Department of Justice and Community and Safety. They want to hear from people who have experience in the justice … Continued

Victoria Police Accessibility Action Plan 2024-26

Closing date: December 18, 2023

Consultation for the next Victoria Police Accessibility Action Plan (AAP) 2024-2026 is now open. As part of this, Victoria Police has released a community survey seeking input from people with disability, families, carers, community members, and the disability sector. The survey is an opportunity for the disability community to help shape the next AAP. Listening … Continued

Trapped

It’s Christmas Day. A man paces the caged courtyard attached to his secure unit. There are bits of tinsel strewn around it – an attempt to bring colour into his world. He’s rarely left this space in the past 11 years. There’s no date for his release. He’s never been convicted of a crime. Adrian* … Continued

Spring 2023 Edition of the Canberra Disability Review

The Spring 2023 Edition of the Canberra Disability Review is out now. It’s online and free and has a focus on the justice system and disability. Articles include lived experience contributions that highlight the compounded disadvantage for the disproportionate number of people with disability who are incarcerated.

2023 Disability Scholarship Program

Closing date: September 8, 2023

Three annual scholarships are awarded to Victorian students with disability studying at the diploma, advanced diploma, undergraduate or postgraduate level. Scholarships are paid over two years for full-time study, and pro-rata payments are available for recipients in part-time study. One scholarship is valued at $40,000 and two scholarships are valued at $10,000 each.

People with disability transitioning from prison and their pathways into homelessness

The report finds that there is a critical need for improved visibility of people with disability within the criminal justice system and for greater transparency of outcomes in relation to programs designed to support their re-entry (including housing outcomes).  Many of the programs designed to support people leaving correctional facilities have a limited evidence base and focus on recidivism to the exclusion of other related factors, such as housing and access to services that support people with disability to live independently in the community.  Likewise, many supportive housing programs have not been evaluated for justice-involved people with disability. 

Remove barriers to jurors with disability, Vic told

Victoria is lagging other countries by effectively excluding people who are deaf, hard of hearing, blind or have low vision from serving on juries. The state’s law reform commission is calling for an overhaul of the justice system to enable juries to be inclusive, a change it said was “well overdue”, in a report tabled in parliament on Tuesday.

Inclusive Juries: Report

Jury duty is an important civic duty associated with active citizenship. Barriers to jury service in current law and practice are out of touch with community expectations, laws and policies about non-discrimination and the inclusion of people with disabilities in public life.  This report recommends ways to remove barriers from current law and practice that prevent people who are deaf, hard of hearing, blind or have low vision from serving on juries. 

Disability Rights in Real Life

In 2021, Equality Lawyers and Picture Human Rights joined forces to create Disability Rights in Real Life, a law handbook for people with disabilities, their families and supporters. ​Disability Rights in Real Life aims to provide the disability community with information on their rights and to know when they might need a disability rights lawyer. … Continued

Victoria Police Disability Portfolio Reference Group

Closing date: May 26, 2023

Victoria Police Portfolio Reference Groups provide advice, expertise, and feedback to assist Victoria Police in their engagement with diverse communities. Expressions of interest are now being taken for new members to join the Disability Portfolio Reference Group. Members should have a high level of knowledge of issues affecting people with disability and a willingness to … Continued

Deaf Australians and those with disabilities push to end exclusion from juries

While many Australians go to great lengths to avoid serving on a jury, Brent Phillips has spent nearly a decade fighting for his right to take part in his civic duty. In 2014, he was selected for jury duty in his home state of Victoria. “I was quite excited to be honest, I have a legal background, and I have qualifications in criminology,” he said. But once the courts found out Mr Phillips was deaf he was excluded from service, even though he wanted to participate.

State of Incarceration: Insights into Imprisonment in Victoria (

This report lays bare the failures of Victoria’s criminal justice system in a comprehensive assessment that reveals “jailing is failing”.  It is increasingly clear that in Victoria, the growth in the adult imprisonment rate has not been driven by severity of offending or crime, but rather by systemic failings, and policy and legislative choices, that have resulted in people being funnelled unnecessarily into imprisonment.  In particular, this includes those denied bail and awaiting sentencing and those denied parole.

Detainees with disabilities in ‘spiral of hopelessness’ after cancelled United Nations visit to Australia

People with disabilities in the criminal justice system feel like they exist in a “black hole” after an international torture prevention body cancelled a visit to Australia. “We’re locking them up and throwing away the key … their behaviour is misinterpreted as wilful defiance or criminal intention but it’s often just the product of their disability.”