Centre for Innovative Justice at RMIT launches Supporting Justice.net
The Centre for Innovative Justice at RMIT University has recently launched the Supporting Justice website, SupportingJustice.net, an online resource for court and legal professionals to better respond to and support people with disability in the criminal justice system.
Supporting Justice is a systems change project that is focused on getting fairer outcomes and needs-based support to people with autism spectrum disorder, cognitive impairment, intellectual disability and dual disability. It builds on the 2017 Enabling Justice Project, which found that ‘fragmented and inconsistent responses throughout the criminal justice system and broader environment mean that the needs of people with a disability are rarely recognised or responded to appropriately.’
Working with people with lived experience and key stakeholders from the criminal justice and disability service systems, the Supporting Justice project has identified three key challenges faced by people with disability: support needs being overlooked, discrimination, stigmatization and lack of empathy, and cycles of contact and disadvantage. Supporting Justice aims to address these challenges and reduce barriers to justice by:
- bringing people with disability to the centre of the process and ensuring their voices are heard in relation to justice system reform
- creating a safe space for justice and disability system actors to develop a shared understanding of the system
- facilitating collaborative approaches to challenges across justice, disability, health, housing and social services systems
- identifying shared and achievable priorities for justice system change
The Supporting Justice resources aim to help lawyers, judicial officers and court professionals to gain an understanding of the experience of people with disability within the criminal justice system, and have evidence-based knowledge and capability-building training to draw upon. The online resource also supports people with disability to be empowered in their interactions with legal and court professionals by providing information on where to receive timely and appropriate support in criminal justice settings, how to find out about your rights. The Supporting Justice project has also contributed to the establishment of Voices for Justice, a self-advocacy training for people with ABI and lived experience of the criminal justice system to provide advice to policy-makers.