In a life threatening emergency dial Triple Zero (000)

In a life threatening emergency dial Triple Zero (000)
ACT Public Hospitals

Canberra Hospital

5124 0000


Calvary Hospital

6201 6111

Mental Health

Call Mental Health Triage on

1800 629 354

(free call except from mobiles or public phones) or

6205 1065

Poisons Hotline

For a poison emergency in Australia call

131126

Drug and Alcohol Help Line

The Drug and Alcohol Help Line is available 24-hours, 7 days a week on

5124 9977

Health Protection Service

For after hours urgent public health matters including environmental health, radiation safety, food poisoning and communicable disease management phone:

(02) 6205 1700

healthdirect

24 hour health advice

1800 022 222

ACT State Emergency Service

Emergency help
during flood or storms

132 500

First Action Plan 2019 - 2023


The Disability Justice Strategy is a ten-year strategy. The strategy is an overarching plan, designed to inform and guide how more detailed work is formulated and acted on. It has three key goals (Figure 1) and five focus areas aimed at achieving those goals.

Figure 1 - Goals of the Disability Justice Strategy

Five focus areas

This First Action Plan sits under the Disability Justice Strategy and describes the first four years of work and the commitments made by stakeholders to ensure the ACT provides equal access to justice for people with disability.

This plan has been developed as a result of public consultation, research into best practise and advice provided through the Disability Justice Reference Group.

The action plan contains specific activities which fulfil the requirements of each of the five focus areas. At year three, this action plan will be reviewed to ensure the impact of the action plan is evaluated and outcomes of the review will inform and commence the development of the Second Action Plan.

Through pursuing the goals and focus areas of the Disability Justice Strategy this action plan will begin to change how the justice system responds to people with disability who seek access to justice.

Structure of the First Action Plan

The structure of the First Action Plan is based on a series of commitments and engagements made by agencies across the Territory to move towards equality before the law for people with disability. All agencies recognise the importance of access to the law and the importance of intervening early in the life of a person or an issue to prevent long-term complexity. This action plan is structured to include the outcome we are seeking, what it will it will look like for people with disability (including how it will address the Goals) and a break-down of activities that will be undertaken over the first four years of the Disability Justice Strategy.

The Disability Justice Strategy is one of a suite of inter-related strategies and initiatives to work to create a safer community, reduce engagement with the justice system and ensure that the vulnerabilities of those who do interact with the system are recognised and addressed. The final section of the Action Plan therefore details the mutually enabling reforms that are already underway and how they will help to address the strategy’s goals.

Everyone has the right to be heard

Focus Area 1: Information and Communication

Focus Area 1:  Information and CommunicationEveryone has the right to understand what is happening

People with disability know their rights and are able to express their views

Information is shared effectively and appropriately through the system

How will we know if the strategy is working?

People with disability, their families and carers will tell us that they know what their rights are. They will know where to find information and the information will be presented in a way that can be understood. Necessary supports (including communication supports) and other adjustments will be available to people to enable them to participate effectively in the justice system.

We will hear that people with disability feel supported to make decisions.

We will be told by both people with disability and the justice and services sector that information is being exchanged appropriately and effectively.

We will also hear that services have the skills to enhance supports and that reasonable adjustments are being made for people with disability.

Both government and non-government agencies will have plans in place that support disability access and inclusion to address barriers to inclusion for people with disability.

Goal

Action

Outcome

Commitments

Goal 2

1.1 Community of Practice

A community of practice will be created through the phased introduction of Disability Justice Support Workers in key agencies. The networked members employed by a range of justice agencies will provide direct one to one navigation and support to individuals in those services and foster cultural change through internal expertise and advocacy

People with disability will experience the provision of practical supports and reasonable adjustments as they engage with justice agencies, to support them to navigate the system

Justice agencies will have increased confidence in supporting people with disability and making reasonable adjustment to enable access to justice

Community of practice designed and established with two (2) dedicated justice agency staff in early 2020 building to eight (8) dedicated staff by 2023

Lead: Community Services and Justice and Community Safety Directorates

Includes: Partnership with relevant agencies and organisations including commitments from:

  • Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions
  • Legal Aid
  • ACT Policing
  • ACT Corrections
  • Child and Youth Protection Services
  • ACT Courts and Tribunal
  • Community Legal Sector

Goal 2

1.2 Accessible Information

All government agencies develop accessible information through a variety of formats to ensure people with disability are able to understand their rights, access information and better understand the justice system

People with disability, their carers and supporters have accessible information to enable equal access to justice in ways meaningful to them. Accessible information will help to ensure that people with disability understand their rights and their responsibilities and have them respected

First round of accessible information completed by June 2020

First workshops on accessible information September 2019

Lead: All ACT Government agencies.

Includes:

  • Legal Aid
  • Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions
  • ACT Courts and Tribunal
  • Public Trustee and Guardian
  • Justice and Community Safety Directorate
  • ACT Corrections
  • Child and Youth Protection Services
  • Canberra Community Law
  • Housing ACT
  • Community Legal Sector

Goal 1

1.3 Supported decision making

Supported decision making is understood and promoted across community and justice agencies

Supported decision making provides an alternative way of ensuring a person retains autonomy and independence in their lives. It provides an alternative to substitute decision makers and guardians

People with disability are given the greatest decision-making autonomy and support possible to make decisions affecting their lives. This occurs by creating a cultural shift where supported decision is recognised as a preferred and achievable alternative to guardianship by community, service providers and the justice sector

Supported decision making program is delivered from year 1 of the strategy

Lead: Office for Disability, Community Services Directorate

Delivered by: Community disability advocacy partners and the Public Trustee and Guardian

Goal 1

1.4 Identification of intervention points

Intervention points for information are identified and advice is given to problem noticers. Problem noticers are individuals and systems that are uniquely placed to engage early or proactively in the life of an issue

This action will increase understanding of the most accessible and appropriate ways and places to provide people with disability, their carers and supporters, with information to ensure they have access to legal and other services on an equal basis with others

Mapping of intervention points commences in early 2020

Lead: Community Services Directorate and Justice and Community Safety Directorate

Includes:

  • ACT Health
  • Education Directorate
  • Justice and Community Safety Directorate
  • Community Services Directorate
  • Community sector

Goal 3

1.5 Community engagement and consultation with people with disability

Ongoing consultation is undertaken with people with disability and the community sector on the issues that impact their experience and ability to contribute as citizens

People with disability are central to the ongoing development of the Disability Justice Strategy.  Formal and informal engagement throughout this action plan will ensure people with disability have their voices heard

Regular communication on progress of the strategy and consultation on evaluation in 2022

Lead: Community Services Directorate and Justice and Community Safety Directorate

Includes: All ACT Government agencies

Everyone has a right to justice

Focus Area 2: Education and Guidance

Focus Area 2:  Education and GuidanceEveryone has the right to justice

Developing a justice system that notices disability, provides supports to people with disability and works to deliver equal access to justice

How will we know the Strategy is working?

The justice and disability service sectors will tell us that they have improved levels of confidence that they have the necessary levels of knowledge and expertise when dealing with people with disability.

Organisations will also report improved skills in developing accessible information. This knowledge and expertise will be supported by resources such as: handbooks, guidelines, continuing professional development and training opportunities.

People with disability will report a more skilled disability-informed sector.

Goal

Actions

Outcome

Commitments

Goal 2

2.1 Justice Sector Education and Guidance

Disability justice specific ACT training resources are developed

Justice organisations undertake training and utilise resources developed

This action will foster a disability informed and responsive legal and justice sector so that people with disability receive information, services and reasonable adjustments when they need them

Training packages and modules are developed and tested throughout 2019–20.

Training commences in 2019 with an ongoing schedule of training over the life of the plan

Participation from relevant agencies and community sector:

  • Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions
  • Legal Aid
  • ACT Policing
  • ACT Corrections
  • Child and Youth Protection Services
  • ACT Courts and Tribunal
  • Victims of Crime Commissioner
  • Community Legal Sector
  • Bimberi Youth Justice Centre
  • Alexander Maconochie Centre
  • Justice Health
  • PCYC
  • OneLink
  • community disability advocacy partners

Goal 2

2.2 Best Practice Guide for ACT Police

A guide to assist ACT Policing in interacting with people with disability

A best practice guide is developed in partnership with ACT Policing. This will provide practical guidance to police in their interactions with people with disability to enable people with disability to understand and exercise their rights and have reasonable adjustments made

Best practice guide is developed in 2021 and tested in 2022

Lead: ACT Victims of Crime Commissioner

Supported by:

  • Justice and Community Safety Directorate and Community Services   Directorate

Goal 2

2.3 Supporting Victims to Give Evidence Guidelines

Guidelines on supporting victims with disability giving evidence are developed, disseminated and utilised

Developed in partnership with the Victims of Crime Commissioner and the Director of Public Prosecutions these guidelines will provide guidance to members of the justice system, including ACT Policing, on how to support victims of crime and witnesses to provide evidence and have equal access to justice

Guidelines are developed and tested in 2021

Lead: Office for Disability, Community Services Directorate

Delivered by: Community disability advocacy partners and the Public Trustee and Guardian

Goal 2

2.4 Legal Capacity Guidance for Legal Profession

‘Legal Capacity Guidelines’ are developed for legal practitioners to assist in identification of clients who may need additional supports

Developed in partnership with Legal Aid, this action will support the legal profession to better understand the capabilities, strengths and needs of people with disability in their interaction with legal issues and decision-making.

Guidelines are developed and tested in 2020

Lead: Legal Aid ACT

Supported by:

  • Justice and Community Safety Directorate
  • Community Services Directorate
  • Public Trustee and Public Guardian

Goal 1

2.5 Education Outreach on Rights of People with Disability

Disability focused rights outreach from the Human Rights Commission is undertaken, targeting people with disability and the non-government sector

Developed in partnership with the Human Rights Commission, this action will promote the understanding of the rights of people with disability to the general community and the justice system to improve responsiveness to people with disability

Lead: ACT Human Rights Commission

Supported by: Community Services Directorate and Justice and Community Safety Directorate

Goal 2

2.6  Implementation of Courts and Tribunal Training tool

Provide training for ACT Courts and Tribunal staff to improve their awareness of disability

Staff will be able to better support people with disability to access ACT Courts and Tribunal on an equal basis with others, including by identifying the best ways to provide assistance

Training commences in 2019

Lead: ACT Courts and Tribunal and People and Workplace Strategy (Justice and Community Safety Directorate)

Goal 2

2.7 Development of best practice guide for Child and Youth Protection Services

Child and Youth Protection Services develop a best practice guide for frontline workers. The guide includes best practice for how to support people with disability engaged with Child and Youth Protection Services

Frontline child protection and youth justice workers know how to better support the people with disability they work with, including how to make reasonable adjustments and referrals to appropriate agencies

Best Practice guide in development 2019

Lead: Child and Youth Protection Services

Supported by: Office for Disability, Community Services Directorate

Focus Area 3: Identification, Screening and Assessment

Focus Area 3:  Identification, Screening and AssessmentWe all have the right to be heard by the legal system

Identifying disability and taking action where required.

How will we know the Strategy is working?

We will see more identification, screening and assessment points in the justice and services systems being created and operating effectively. People with disability will report receiving appropriate supports during their interactions with the justice system.

Goal

Actions

Outcome

Commitments

Goal 2

3.1 Screening and identification of disability for reasonable adjustments

Screening and assessment tools are sourced for use in both the services and justice systems

This action will enable service providers and justice agencies to better identify people with disability to provide reasonable adjustments to support people with disability to access services and be treated equally

Workshops to identify tools in 2020

Trial of screening tools across settings in 2021

Lead: Office for Disability, Community Services Directorate

Includes: Justice agencies and legal service providers including:

  • ACT Corrections
  • ACT Policing
  • Child and Youth Protection Services
  • Housing ACT
  • Legal Aid
  • Education Directorate
  • Canberra Community Law
  • community legal sector

Goal 2

3.2 Referral for functional assessment

A process for justice agencies to have ready access to functional assessments is established to inform service responses to people with disability through funding administered by Community Services Directorate

This action will ensure that appropriate supports and adjustments are based on professional advice (where required) and made in a timely way to assist people with disability in their interaction with the justice system.

Referral process trialled in 2021

Lead: Office for Disability, Community Services Directorate

Referral Agencies:

  • ACT Corrections
  • Child and Youth Protection Services
  • Legal Aid
  • Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions
  • Victims of Crime Commissioner
  • ACT Policing
  • community legal sector

Goal 2

3.3 Therapeutic Assessment for children in out of home care

Therapeutic assessments are undertaken for children and young people engaged with Child and Youth Protection Services

Children and young people in out of home care will have disability included as part of their therapeutic assessment. This will help to identify early necessary supports and avoid or mitigate the risk of contact with the youth justice system

Commence in 2019

Lead: Child and Youth Protection Services and Community Services Directorate

Supported by: Education Directorate

Focus Area 4: Better Service Delivery

Focus Area 4:  Better Service DeliveryEveryone has the right to be free from harm

Improving services for people with disability in contact with the justice system

How will we know the Strategy is working?

We will have effective systems and services in place to ensure the needs of people with disability in contact with the justice system are met. In particular, there will be a positive authorising environment where all organisations have a clear mandate for their role and are supported by people who work collaboratively to achieve better outcomes for people with disability.

Goal

Action

Outcome

Commitments

Goal 2

4.1 Community of Practice (service delivery)

A community of practice will be created through the phased introduction of Disability Justice Support Workers in key agencies. The community of practice will provide direct one to one navigation of the justice system, provide support to individuals and foster cultural change through internal expertise and advocacy

This action will mean that there will be a core network of dedicated disability justice workers to support people with disability, their carers and supporters to navigate the justice system and receive necessary adjustments

Community of practice designed and established with two (2) dedicated justice agency staff in early 2020 building to eight (8) dedicated staff by 2023

Lead: Community Services Directorate and Justice and Community Safety Directorate

Includes:

  • ACT Policing
  • ACT Corrections
  • Legal Aid
  • Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions
  • ACT Courts and Tribunal
  • Canberra Community Law

Goal 3

4.2 Disability Action and Inclusion Plans (DAIPs)

DAIPs are developed and implemented to improve access and participation of people with disability

DAIPs are active plans written by an organisation as a commitment to improve access and participation for people with disability

This action will enable services to identify where people with disability come into contact with their systems and means that ACT Government agencies and the justice sector will focus on the needs of people with disability within their service delivery, reasonable adjustments needed to be made and information that should be made more accessible. A DAIP also ensures the engagement of people with disability in the development of the plan

DAIPS are in place by 2022

Lead: All directorates

Commitments from:

  • Public Trustee and Guardian
  • ACT Courts and Tribunal
  • Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions
  • Legal Aid,
  • Canberra Community Law
  • Child and Youth Protection Services
  • Community Legal Sector

Goal 1

4.3 Third person support trial

A trial providing a third person independent advocate for individuals with disability when interacting with the justice system is implemented

This trial will test providing a community advocate/support person to individual people with disability to assist them to navigate the system, be listened to and communicate when involved in legal issues or proceedings such as a court or tribunal

Trial commences mid-2020

Lead: Community Services Directorate and Justice and Community Safety Directorate

Includes: Community sector and justice agencies

Goal 2

4.4 Specialist disability legal and forensic services

An examination is undertaken of the necessity and feasibility of specialist disability services for legal issues and supports to people in the criminal justice system

This action will identify any gaps in services which may need to be addressed by new or specialist services to ensure equal access to justice. The review will inform the second action plan

Workshop to examine need and options 2020

Lead: Community Services Directorate and Justice and Community Safety Directorate

Includes: Justice agencies and legal service providers

Goal 2

4.5 Intermediary scheme

The intermediary scheme will commence in January 2020 with a view to expanding in its scope in the third year, to include adults with a communication difficulty

This action will improve access to justice for people with disability in the criminal justice system

Engagement with witness intermediary scheme from commencement in 2020

Lead: Victims of Crime Commissioner, Justice and Community Safety Directorate and Community Services Directorate

Goal 2

4.6 ACT Corrections Disability Framework

A Corrections Disability Framework is developed and implemented

This action will ensure that people with disability in custody or under supervision have access to supports and adjustments that enable them to be safe, participate in programs and reduce recidivism

Development of framework in 2020

Lead: ACT Corrections and Justice and Community Safety Directorate

Goal 2

4.7 Information sharing

The collection and sharing of personal information of people with disability, with consent, is improved to ensure relevant information is available in a timely way to better support people with disability

This action will mean that where appropriate (and not subject to legislative or other constraints), people with disability will be able to have their relevant information follow them across the system.  This action will also enhance the likelihood of individual adjustments being made, reduce the trauma of re-identifying and ensure the system is ready to act in their support

Workshops to commence 2020

Lead: Community Services Directorate and Justice and Community Safety Directorate

Includes:

  • directorates
  • justice agencies
  • community sector

Goal 1

4.8 Guardianship reform

Explore opportunities to reform decision making laws in the ACT to provide greater options for supported decision making by people with disability

This action will enhance the ability of people with disability to exercise decision making autonomy, consistent with their human rights, rather than experiencing ongoing substitute decision making arrangements

Legal reform implemented by 2022

Lead: Justice and Community Safety Directorate

Includes:

  • ACT Courts and Tribunal
  • ACT Health Directorate
  • Public Trustee and Guardian

Goal 2

4.9 Criminal justice diversion project

An examination is undertaken of options for diversion from the criminal justice system for people with disability

This action acknowledges the lack of diversionary options for people with disability from the criminal justice system and commits to examining best practice options for diversion and recommend to government actions to be undertaken

Review of action will be undertaken to inform the Second Action Plan

Lead: Community Services Directorate and Justice and Community Safety Directorate

Includes: Justice agencies

Goal 1

4.10 Cognitive impairment and mental health review

Given co-morbidity of mental health and disability a review is undertaken of current arrangements and options for reform and service delivery improvements are identified

This action will identify the gaps and synergies between systems and make recommendations for change

ACTHD is leading the development of a strategic direction for mental health services for people with Intellectual Disability which will be available in 2019 to inform this action

Lead: ACT Health Directorate supported by Justice and Community Safety Directorate

Includes:

  • ACT Health Directorate
  • Office for Mental Health and Wellbeing
  • Canberra Health Services
  • justice agencies
  • community sector

Goal 2

4.11 Continuation of Canberra Community Law’s Socio-Legal Practice Clinic

The clinic will continue to provide socio-legal services to residents in the ACT and surround who have public housing, Social Security or disability discrimination problems

Social barriers which impact on the resolution of legal problems are identified and a resolution is facilitated. It will also help people with disability to overcome the barriers to accessing justice and services and connect them with appropriate community support

Ongoing support identified and funded through the 2018–19 budget

Lead: Canberra Community Law

Everyone has human rights that must be respected and protected every dayEveryone has the right to understand what is happeningEveryone has the right to be safe

Focus Area 5: Data, Research and Review

Focus Area 5:  Data, Research and ReviewWe are all allies in accessing justice

Knowing what success looks like for the Disability Justice Strategy

How will we know the Strategy is working?

We will have an improved picture of how many people with disability are in contact with the justice system and the reasons for that contact. Information will be held and shared appropriately within and between the justice system and services, and the justice system will work more effectively for people with disability.

The reviews will demonstrate positive progress in achieving equal access to justice for people with disability, and the strategy will evolve as a result of a strong evidence base.

Goal

Action

Outcome

Commitments

Goal 3

5.1 Data collection and publication project

Data collection points and collection methods are examined and mapped to improve data capture and reporting with a view to annual statistical collation

This action will enable the ACT to gather clear data on who and how people with disability are interacting with justice systems. This will provide the information to measure quantitative progress and to assist in evaluating other outcomes, as well as guide future actions

Mapping and identification to commence in 2020

Lead: Community Services and Justice and Community Safety Directorates

Includes:

Community Services Directorate

justice agencies

Chief Digital Office

Goal 3

5.2 Evaluation

A formal evaluation of the strategy and the First Action Plan is undertaken in year 3 to inform strategy direction and Second Action Plan

This action will evaluate whether the strategy measures and actions are on track and delivering change

Evaluation to be undertaken in year 3 2022

Lead: Community Services and Justice and Community Safety Directorates

Includes: external evaluator

Goal 3

5.3 Governance and oversight

Oversight of the strategy implementation and outcomes is undertaken by the Disability Justice Working Group. Government oversight will be provided by the senior leadership of the Human Services Cluster comprising the Directors General of the Health, Justice and Community Safety, Education and Community Services Directorates.

This action will ensure the active engagement of stakeholders including government, non- government and community members through the Disability Justice Reference Group, as well as oversight and accountability through cross-government collaboration

The Disability Justice Strategy team established in 2018 will be maintained throughout the life of the Action Plan.

Lead: Community Services and Justice and Community Safety Directorates

Includes justice agencies, relevant directorates and community sector:

  • Public Trustee and Guardian
  • ACT Courts and Tribunal
  • Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions
  • Legal Aid
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elected Body
  • ACT Health
  • Education Directorate
  • Aboriginal Legal Service

Goal 2

5.4 Ongoing development of the Disability Justice Strategy and action plans

The Disability Justice Strategy and actions under the First Action Plan will be monitored and reviewed. This will inform the development of the Second Action Plan

This action will enable government to maintain momentum on development of policy and operational procedures and ensure they are best placed to both identify and meet the needs of people with disability

The strategy team established in 2018 will be maintained throughout the life of the action plan.

Lead: Justice and Community Safety and Community Services Directorates

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