Disability Justice Strategy 2019–2029
A Strategy to address unequal access to justice in the ACT
Equity and inclusion are cornerstone values of the ACT Government. Our vision is for the ACT to be an inclusive, welcoming society where everyone has the opportunity to reach their full potential.
The Disability Justice Strategy 2019–2029 aims to achieve equity and inclusion for people with disability in the justice system. In doing so, it recognises that equality before the law is not the current reality for too many ACT residents with disability.
In developing this strategy, we have looked at the evidence available through research, talked with people with disability, their families and carers, and heard from people working in both the justice and service sectors. It is clear that people with disability face many barriers to accessing justice and that improvements are needed to address this inequality.
The justice system can be complex and difficult to navigate for many people. For people with disability those challenges can be made harder by information and advice not being available in ways they can access. If we can improve the justice system for people with disability, it will be better for everyone. In particular, it will be better for other over-represented groups who experience discrimination and barriers to access, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Canberrans.
We know that people with disability experience a greater need for legal support than many other people in society. People with disability face a range of disadvantages that result in them being more likely to come into contact with the justice system. If we can provide supports that reduce this level of legal need then the benefits will be felt not only for people with disability but through a reduction in demand on the justice system as a whole.
The three goals of the Disability Justice Strategy focus on the safety and rights of people with disability, the responsiveness of the justice system and how we achieve and measure change.
We thank everyone who has contributed to this very important work. The Disability Justice Reference Group has been an invaluable source of expertise and we are grateful for the members’ commitment. We wish to acknowledge people with disability, their families and carers, who shared their experiences of the justice system. Their stories and experiences have shaped the strategy and will continue to drive the ACT Government’s work to improve access to justice for all people now and into the future.
Rachel Stephen-Smith MLA, Minister for Disability
Gordon Ramsay MLA, Attorney–General
Shane Rattenbury MLA, Minister for Justice