The purpose of the Disability Justice Plan 2014-2017 is to make the criminal justice system more accessible and responsive to the needs of people with a disability.
In June 2014, the government launched the Disability Justice Plan associated guidelines Supporting vulnerable witnesses in the giving of evidence: Guidelines for securing best evidence for investigative interviewers working with vulnerable witnesses.
The plan, guidelines and linked changes to the law provide a comprehensive approach designed to provide enhanced support for vulnerable witnesses who are in contact with the criminal justice system. You can view the plan and guidelines in the downloads section below.
The Law4all Program is run by the Legal Services Commission and funded through the Disability Justice Plan. The aim of Law4all is to assist people with disability to know their rights, understand their responsibilities and navigate confidently through the legal system, knowing when and where to ask for help and advice.
Melanie Robinson is the Legal Education Officer for Law4all. She can visit your organisation or group to give you the information you need. To contact Melanie about Law4all telephone (08) 8111 5732 or by email on melanie.robinson [at] lsc.sa.gov.au.
Changes to the Law
The Statutes Amendment (Vulnerable Witnesses) Act 2015 was introduced into Parliament on 6 May 2015 to improve the position of vulnerable parties, namely children and persons with a cognitive impairment, within the criminal justice system, both in and out of court. The Act extends to victims, witnesses, suspects and defendants. The Act received Royal Assent on 6 August 2015 and will commence on 1 July 2016.
The Act builds on previous changes to the law. The Act and the recent addition of s 51 to the Criminal Law Consolidation Act 1935 are both part of the wider Disability Justice Plan.
All of these measures aim to ensure that people with disability, whether as victims, witnesses, suspects or defendants, are better served by the justice system.
For information on the Disability Justice Plan contact the Senior Project Officer on 82071825 or DisabilityJusticePlan [at] sa.gov.au
‘Law 4 All’: the Legal Services Commission runs community legal education programs for people living with a disability. Telephone (08) 8111 5555 or cle [at] lsc.sa.gov.au for further information.
Individual organisations should obtain their own independent legal advice about the operation of these laws and their obligations with respect to workplace policies and procedures to ensure employee compliance.