Justice Support Program
Do you have a disability?
Have you been charged with an offence?
Do you need help to access services or support?
If you have a disability, the Justice Support Program is a QAI initiative designed to respond to your needs in the Justice and related systems. The Individual Advocate can marshal legal and community services to support you, help you to remain in the community and prevent any further entrenchment into the criminal justice system.
- Help you get legal advice or representation.
- Try to resolve the issue.
- Advocate with service systems to acquire appropriate and
responsive supports i.e. housing, personal assistance,
- Help you to comply with Court orders i.e. attend appointments
The criteria for accessing the Justice Support Program is that:
- the person at risk has a disability – mental illness, intellectual disability, cognitive impairment, acquired brain injury or physical disability; and
- the person’s primary issue has a connection to the criminal justice system; and
- there is no other more suitable service which can assist the person with this issue.
Call Liz Francis on the following numbers:
07 3844 4200
0422 039 258
JSP Background Information:
Disabled Justice: The barriers to justice for persons with disability in Queensland
QAI’s report Disabled Justice: The barriers to justice for persons with disability in Queensland examines the experience of persons with disability with the Queensland criminal justice system and proposes a series of structural reforms to ensure access to justice for persons with disability in Queensland: This Report has received strong support from: the Queensland Premier; the Attorney-General; the Minister for Police and Corrective Services; the Minister for Disability Services Queensland; and the justice sector, including Queensland government justice agencies. Recommendation 22 of the Report proposes that the Queensland Department of Justice and the Attorney General or Disability Services Queensland fund the establishment and operation of a State-wide Police Support and Court Support Service for persons with disability who are required to participate in a police interview or attend Court, whether as victims, suspects or other witnesses.
Persons with disability are significantly over-represented as victims of crime, but are under-represented as complainants. However, even when complaints are made to Police, these are often not investigated in a competent manner. Police may be unable to conduct effective interviews with persons with cognitive disability, and may fail to make the accommodations necessary to effectively support victims. Prosecutions may fail due to poorly conducted police interviews. Additionally, while there have been substantial recent improvements to Court processes in Queensland, attending Court and giving evidence can be very stressful and intimidating for victims with disability. Courts may also fail to make the accommodations necessary to facilitate the effective participation of persons with disability in the Court process. These factors can also result in the failure of prosecutions.
Persons with disability are also significantly over-represented as suspects, defendants and convicted offenders in the criminal justice system. There are multi-factorial reasons for this over-representation. However, the evidence is overwhelming that policing practices and court processes impact very negatively on persons with disability and significantly contribute to over-representation. Again, Police may be unable to conduct effective interviews with persons with cognitive disability and may fail to make the accommodations necessary to ensure investigations are conducted fairly. Court processes may fail to identify persons with disability, or make accommodations necessary for a fair trial.