Justice support volunteers sought by disability service
Intellectual Disability Rights Service is seeking volunteers to help provide support for people with intellectual disabilities attending Woy Woy courthouse.
"The Service could not operate without volunteer support," said outreach officer Ms Jacqui Gunst.
"Justice Support volunteers are comprehensively trained in how the court and police systems work and how to help a person with an intellectual disability make sense of it all.
"Our volunteers are committed to respecting our client's views and wishes and are assertive but respectful in advocating for the person.
"Volunteers make a real difference to the court experience for our clients, enabling them to understand what is happening and to exercise their rights," Ms Gunst said.
The Service provides state-wide justice support to people with intellectual disabilities who are in contact with the criminal justice system.
The Central Coast Outreach Sector provides support at Woy Woy, Gosford and Wyong courts.
"We provide free personal support to victims, witnesses, and defendants (alleged offenders) with intellectual disability at court, during legal appointments, and at court related processes such as mediation and youth justice conferencing.
"Support is also provided at police stations and correctional centres," said Ms Gunst.
The service has a "rights focus" and the main role of the support person is to assist with communication and understanding of processes, improve access to legal advice and representation, as well as to provide some information and referral.
"Our aim is to reduce the disadvantages people experience in the legal system due to having intellectual disability," she said.
The Service provided training for volunteers, people with intellectual disabilities, police, court staff, lawyers, disability services and any other interested organisations and services.
Media release, 19 Jan 2018
Jacqui Gunst, Intellectual Disability Rights Service Woy Woy