Police responses to people with disability

This report finds some police responses to people with disability are inadequate and can be ‘damaging’ to their well-being. Many people with disability who end up in a life-long cycle of disadvantage and incarceration come into contact with police due to their disadvantaged circumstances and their inability to access effective social services.

The evidence presented in the report indicates justice systems across Australia in many cases enable, rather than prevent, violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation of people with disability.

It found two co-occurring factors drive inadequate police responses for people with disability in crisis situations:

  • Police officers performing an expanded role as both first responders and de facto social services support
  • Reduced funding and availability of appropriate social and human services support.

Trauma-informed, culturally safe, community-based and holistic social service support is central to improving how police respond to people with disability. The report notes that there are a number of examples of good practice and alternatives to the current policing models that advocates say should be more widely practiced.

Download report (off-site)
Legal, Corrections, Justice System

Disability Royal Commission

Date published:
Tue 19th Oct, 2021