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Launching Supporting Justice

VALID Advocacy Coordinator – Emily Piggott took part in a panel discussion which was held on 26 May 2020 for the launch of the website, a website developed by The Centre for Innovative Justice, is a new resource for Court and legal professionals to access to support people with a disability in the criminal justice system.

People with an Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) represent less than 3% of the general population and yet 42% of men and 33% of women in our prisons have an ABI.

The proportion of people with an ABI in custody is dramatically higher than the wider population, an imbalance that is echoed in incarceration rates in people with disabilities generally.

Within the general community people with an ABI face homelessness, mental illness, poverty and unemployment make them vulnerable to contact the Justice System.

Despite this, the existence and prevalence of people with ABI is not well known or even understood across the justice system. There is a broken system currently in place to support with an ABI and people with a disability in general.

The website was developed to respond to some of those findings and works to address the over representation of people with an ABI in the Justice System.

The online event was opened by the Minister for Disability, Luke Donnellan and other panel members were:

– Magistrate Pauline Spencer, Coordinating Magistrate Court Support Services

– Dorothy Armstrong, Self-Advocate and Victorian Disability Award winner

– Stan Winford, Associate Director of the Centre for Innovative Justice

As Emily pointed out, “We’ve asked people with cognitive disabilities to mould themselves to a system we created for them rather than the systems being made to meet peoples needs. “ Hopefully with SupportJustice people working in the criminal justice system will start making changes to the current system with input from people with a cognitive disability.

You can watch the event here

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