Helen Loreck: Action needs to be taken now on Disability Royal Commission findings

This month marks a significant milestone as the Disability Royal Commission prepares to release its final recommendations. As we eagerly await these directives, it’s already clear from the commission’s hearings that our society demands a higher standard in terms of how we provide support to individuals with disabilities.

Responding to expectations, Legal Aid WA is taking a proactive step forward. This week, we are proud to introduce a new service—Disability Legal WA. While our commitment to aiding people with disabilities is long-standing, we’ve come to recognise that these individuals often grapple with an intricate web of legal challenges, coupled with difficult barriers hindering their access to justice. Hence, the need for a more streamlined and comprehensive service.

Consider, for instance, the story of our client Jody, a resilient 28-year-old First Nations woman. Until recently, she had no idea she had been living with an intellectual disability since childhood. On top of that, Jody’s early life was marred by adversity after losing her father and watching her mother battle alcohol addiction.

She endured unthinkable traumas, falling victim to sexual assault and violence from a stepfather. Jody struggled at school and consequently, her adulthood became entangled with substance abuse and crime and she was in and out of jail.

When Jody sought assistance from Legal Aid WA in 2022, we suspected an underlying intellectual disability. Through a neuropsychological assessment, our suspicions were validated, and she received a formal diagnosis, along with the support she deserved. Jody is now out of jail and making great strides forward in her life.

Regrettably, Jody’s story echoes across countless cases we encounter at Legal Aid WA.

It’s a distressing recurrence, one that the inception of Disability Legal WA is aimed at addressing. The service will not only offer legal aid but also encompass social support, catering to the diverse needs of those living with disabilities.

In the past year alone, Legal Aid WA provided 48,529 services for people with disability. This new service will only improve those services and attempt to help more people like Jody.

This will work through a dedicated case management team that will be supported by lawyers and social workers to provide wraparound support with the client at the centre.

This multifaceted approach not only enhances the accessibility of Legal Aid WA’s services but also ensures that individuals with disabilities are never lost within the system.

Source link

Source: News

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *