​People with a disability

Support when being interviewed by police

Any disability

People with disabilities are considered vulnerable persons by the police and have the right to a support person (a person, over 18 years of age, chosen or agreed to by the victim to help them) when being interviewed by the police. This is the case whether the person is a witness, victim or alleged offender. Please refer to the NSW Police website.

Intellectual disability

If you have an intellectual disability you may contact the Criminal Justice Support Network (CJSN). The aim of the CJSN is to make sure that people with an intellectual disability who are in contact with the criminal justice system understand their rights and have the ability to exercise them.

The Network will offer support at police interviews and at court.

Communication difficulty

The police will arrange for an interpreter if a person being interviewed:
  • is deaf, hearing impaired or speaking impaired
  • is unable to communicate in English
  • has a limited understanding of English
  • is more comfortable communicating in their own language
  • is a child and the appropriate adult requires an interpreter
  • wants an interpreter.

If you need an interpreter when calling triple zero '000', say "interpreter" and the language you speak. The operator will try to connect you to an interpreter immediately.

If you want to call the Police Assistance Line and need an interpreter, call the Translating and Interpreting Service on 131 450 and ask to be connected to 131 444. This service is free.

Support at court

Any disability

It is important that you discuss with the prosecutor, and your support person, any particular needs you may have in the courtroom, these needs could relate to:

  • communication difficulties
  • cognitive or intellectual disabilities
  • hearing difficulties or deafness
  • vision impairment
  • emotional or psychological difficulties
  • personal care needs.

The ODPP Witness Assistance Service can assist people prepare for court and make sure they have support giving evidence in cases prosecuted by the ODPP.

NSW Health Sexual Assault Services assist clients of their service with court preparation and support, including people with a disability.

Brochure
People with a disability - Request for court assistance (PDF, 657Kb)

Intellectual or cognitive disability

If you have an intellectual disability you may contact the Criminal Justice Support Network (CJSN.  The aim of the CJSN is to make sure that people with an intellectual disability who are in contact with the criminal justice system understand their rights and have the ability to exercise them. The CJSN will offer support at police interviews and at court, to people with an intellectual disability who are victims and witnesses.

The Intellectual Disability Rights Service is a non-government organisation which specialises in assisting people with intellectual disabilities make representations in court.

DVD
So you have to go to Court
For people with an intellectual disability or a cognitive disability who have to go to court.

Booklet
Your rights as a victim of crime (PDF 755KB)
To give victims of crime with a cognitive disability a better understanding of their rights under the Charter of Victims Rights.

Communication difficulties (hearing/speech)

Victims who have a hearing or speech impairment or other disability that may make it difficult to communicate can use interpreters.

If you have a hearing aid or you are hearing impaired then you or your support person can request to use a hearing amplification system (The Infra Red Assistive Hearing System) for your visit to court.

At least two weeks before you go to court, you or your support person need to telephone the court registry of the court you are attending and request the infra-red system for the case you are involved in. Find the contact details for the court you're attending on the Justice website. On the day of court arrive early so you can familiarise yourself with the assistive device.

For more information about ordering the infra-red system, see the Diversity Services brochure

Brochure
Can you hear in the courtroom? (PDF, 811Kb)
For information about ordering the infra-red system.