Equal Before the Law

Disability Discrimination Commissioner, Graeme Innes, earlier this week addressed a full house at a Human Rights Commission event, RightsTalk: Balancing the Scales of Justice. “Australians who need communications supports, or who have complex and multiple support needs, are not having their rights protected, and are not being treated equally, in the criminal justice system. This must change,” Commissioner Innes said.

Commissioner Innes said a recent Commission report, Equal before the law: towards disability justice strategies, highlights ways in which people with disability are denied effective access to justice.

“Negative assumptions and attitudes, coupled with a lack of support services often means that people with disabilities are viewed as not credible, not capable of giving evidence or unable to participate in legal proceedings.  As a result many are left without effective access to justice.”

Graeme Innes will also address the National Press Club in Canberra on 2 July 2014, just two days before the Commissioner’s term ends.

The Australian Human Rights Commission has also released a Report entitled, 

Equal Before the Law at https://www.humanrights.gov.au/publications/equal-law 

“Equality Before The Law is a basic tenet of human rights. But I have learned, both as an advocate and during my time as Australia’s Disability Discrimination Commissioner, that equality is not always available for Australians with disabilities in the criminal justice system.This report provides a snapshot of where that equality does not exist, highlights services and programs that improve equality before the law for people with disabilities, and sets some directions by which change may occur.” 

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