The Government of South Australia is committed to disability justice.
A key action of the Disability Justice Plan 2014-17 is the establishment of a specialist communication assistance scheme to support people with disability and children in their contact with the criminal justice system.
This new scheme, known as the Communication Partner Service, will assist people with complex communication needs to provide an accurate and coherent account of their experiences in police interviews and court proceedings.
The Statutes Amendment (Vulnerable Witnesses) Act 2015, introduced under the Disability Justice Plan, provides the statutory basis for the establishment of the service. The new law entitles a witness to be given communication assistance in certain circumstances and includes a communication partner and/or use of a communication device.
The Communication Partner Service will provide independent, trained volunteer personnel to facilitate communication between vulnerable victims, suspects, witnesses and defendants with complex communication needs in and out of court.
The communication partner model and market approach was finalised in consultation with criminal justice agencies. As part of a competitive process, the Communication Partner Service Grant was launched by the Attorney-General’s Department on 16 September 2016.
Uniting Communities has been selected to partner with the government in the delivery of the new Communication Partner Service.
As stated in the Disability Justice Plan, the service will be established and operated in the non-government sector. Funding up to $1.362 million (ex GST) under the Disability Justice Plan was allocated for the establishment of a Communication Partner Service over 4 years.
If you require more information, direct your inquiry to the project officer on 08 8207 1825, or email DisabilityJusticePlan [at] sa.gov.au