Improving access to justice for people with disability
-Improving access to justice for people with disability
Community views are being sought on changes to make it easier for people living with disability to have their voices heard in the criminal justice system.
Attorney General John Rau today met with community leaders and advocates in the disability sector before launching a discussion paper on a new Disability Justice Plan for South Australia.
"Increasing access to justice for all South Australians is an important priority for this Government," Mr Rau said.
"We want to hear feedback and suggestions from people who live with disability, from family members and carers, and from the disability sector, organisations who provide services, researchers, members of the legal community, in fact, everyone who has a view.
"We are very conscious of the need to engage people with disability in the development of these changes, and will be undertaking a comprehensive community consultation over the next two months.
The Disability Justice Plan will include changes to the Evidence Act 1929 to improve the position of vulnerable victims and witnesses in the criminal justice system.
The discussion paper being released today highlights particular areas for consideration and public comment, including:
- What support people with disability require to take part in the criminal justice system on an equal basis, including the use of support people during interviews and in court
- Overcoming barriers people with disability might face in the criminal justice system
- How abuse and exploitation of people with disability can be better prevented
- Proposed changes to the law.
"Changing the law is one thing, it is another to see the changes implemented in practice, and the Plan will ready government agencies to do this successfully," Mr Rau said.
"The plan will involve the development of guidelines for the taking of evidence from vulnerable victims and witnesses, and ensuring that staff who work with people with disability in the criminal justice system are appropriately trained.
"The prosecution of matters where a person with disability is an alleged victim will be a priority in the Plan, with increased support for vulnerable witnesses, particularly children.
"It will also support people with disability charged with an offence to ensure they can take part in the criminal justice system on an equal basis with others.
"I am urging everyone to participate in this important conversation."
For further information about the consultation process and how to get involved, visit www.saplan.org.au/yoursay or call + 61 8 8463 4364.