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What's new at IDRS?

Submission on the Consultation Draft of the Disability Inclusion Bill 2014

Date: 20 February 2014

Intellectual Disability Rights Service (IDRS) supports the need for reform in disability legislation in NSW and welcomes the opportunity to make a submission in relation on the Consultation Draft of the Disability Inclusion Bill.

Our comments are focused on strengthening the Bill to achieve real change for people with disability.

You can access the complete submission here- Submission on the Consultation Draft of the Disability Inclusion Bill 2014 (PDF file)

IDRS Media Release re. Equality Before The Law report by the Australian Human Rights Commission

Date: February 6, 2014

No surprises just shock at the extent of the inequality before the law of people with a disability

The Intellectual Disability Rights Service (IDRS), a specialist disability advocacy organisation and community legal centre based in Redfern applauds the release of the Human Rights Commission’s report, Equal before the Law, yesterday. The content of the report holds no surprises for IDRS. We see injustice occur on a daily basis for our clients, who have intellectual disability. The NSW criminal justice system, from the police through to the highest courts, make efforts to be inclusive and make adjustments to assist defendants and witnesses cope with their involvement with the system, but these often do not go far enough in ensuring that every citizen can access justice equally.


Equal before the Law highlights the barriers for people with disabilities to full participation in the criminal justice system and some of the serious consequences for those who become involved with it. IDRS’s program, the Criminal Justice Support Network (CJSN) supports hundreds of defendants with intellectual disability each year who struggle to understand legal concepts and legal advice and as a consequence, may find themselves in jail for offences related to behaviours they have little or no control over. CJSN also supports victims of crime with intellectual disability and only rarely sees them achieve a just outcome at court. Many of these are victims of sexual assault.


IDRS endorses this report and shares the Human Rights Commission’s wish for all States to ensure true equality and fairness for everyone, regardless of their disability, through a Disability Justice Strategy in each State and Territory. This must be developed in close consultation with people living with a disability and foster a true understanding of the issues facing people with disabilities and the provision of adequately funded services to assist them when problems arise or at an early stage.

  • Janene Cootes
  • Executive Officer, IDRS
  • 6 February 2014
  • For further information, please contact Janene Cootes at:
  • Ph: (02) 9318 0144
  • Email: Janene@idrs.org.au

Printer friendly version IDRS Media Release re. Equality Before The Law report by the Australian Human Rights Commission (PDF file)

IDRS Staff on TV...

Coordinator of IDRS's Parents Project, Dr Margaret Spencer will be on the Insight program - What's Best For The Child on SBS.



You can watch the episode online at What's Best For The Child - SBS Website

Submission to the review of disability legislation Disability Services Act 1993 (NSW)

Date: March 11, 2013

IDRS welcomes the review of disability legislation in NSW to underpin reforms to better cater for the needs and choices of people with disability in NSW.

IDRS believes that the NSW Disability Services Act 1993 (the DSA) has not been implemented to its full potential for flexible, person- centred support based on individual choice and control for people with disability.

Click to open the submission to the review of disability legislation Disability Services Act 1993 (NSW) (PDF file)

The Involuntary or Coerced Sterilisation of People with Disabilities in Australia Senate Committee Inquiry

Date: February 2013

Submission to the Senate Standing Committee on Community Affairs

This submission aims to identify some of the underlying concerns that lead to carers sterilising people with intellectual disability, or coercing them into the procedure, and makes recommendations on how these concerns can be addressed.

Click to open the submission to the Senate Standing Committee on Community Affairs (PDF file)

Dr. Margaret Spencer speaks on ABC about removal of children from parents with intellectually disability

Date: October 23, 2012

Intellectually disabled parents losing out - ABC News

Click here to - watch the segment online and read the article (external link)

Date: October 24, 2012

Child removals from intellectually disabled parents 'inhumane'

Click here to - read the ABC article (external link)

Media Release - The right to remain silent

Date: September 27, 2012

IDRS submission in relation to the Evidence Amendment (Evidence of Silence) Bill 2012

Click to open submission documentIDRS submission in relation to the Evidence Amendment (Evidence of Silence) Bill 2012 (PDF file)

Date: August 16, 2012

Disabling Justice - justice for people with disability and mental health problems about to get much rougher

IDRS is dismayed at the proposed change to the police caution and the further disadvantage it will bring on the many people with intellectual and other disabilities who find themselves under arrest.

Click to open full media release Media Release - The right to remain silent (PDF file)

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