This page tells you how to access support services for people involved in the criminal justice system through two channels:
Note that disability services in Victoria have changed recently.
The roll out of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) has significantly changed the way many of the services that have historically provided support services to people in the Victorian criminal justice system are funded.
CISP provides support services for clients on bail for matters before the Victorian Magistrates' Court. The program aims to reduce the likelihood of people re-offending by supporting them to access relevant services, including:
CISP provides case management support for up to four months or until sentencing or finalisation of a person’s criminal law matter (whichever is sooner). Throughout this period of case management, a Magistrate will monitor the person's progress via reports and regular hearings.
CISP services are available at most Magistrates' Courts in Victoria.
To be eligible for CISP, the individual must:
Use the CISP referral form.
An individual can refer themselves to CISP or ask their lawyer to assist them. A family member, support worker, magistrate, police officer or prosecutor may also refer someone to CISP, but the person will only be accepted if they agree to be involved.
Once a referral is made the person’s eligibility is assessed by a CISP intake worker.
The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) have a Forensic Disability Program for people who have disability support needs which are contributing to contact with the criminal justice system.
You should first contact the Forensic Disability Statewide Access Service (FDSAS). FDSAS is contactable 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. Call 1300 390 709 or email ForensicDisability.Access@dhhs.vic.gov.au
FDSAS can then refer you on to any of the following three services:
Forensic Disability Statewide Access Service (FDSAS)
FDSAS is the access point into the Forensic Disability Program.
FDSAS is contactable 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. Call 1300 390 709 or email ForensicDisability.Access@dhhs.vic.gov.au
Disability Forensic Assessment and Treatment Service (DFATS)
The DFATS is a statewide disability forensic service, which provides assessment, treatment, support and residential services for people with intellectual and cognitive disabilities who display high risk anti-social behaviour, and who are involved, or at risk of being involved, in the criminal justice system.
All referrals to DFATS are managed by FDSAS.
Disability Justice Coordination
Disability Justice Coordination operates across four divisions throughout Victoria with offices in the metro and regional areas.
Disability Justice coordinators perform forensic assessments and interventions for people with intellectual disability who have been sentenced or placed on an order through the Victorian judicial system.
The coordinators can assist the judiciary in sentencing people with a disability by:
All referrals to Disability Justice Coordination are managed by FDSAS.
Specialist Forensic Disability Accommodation (SFDA)
The SFDA is a network of 12 residential services under the Disability Act 2006, accommodating people requiring forensic disability supports who are subject to civil and criminal orders in the community. In addition, SFDA accommodates people with a cognitive disability who have served orders but pose a risk to community safety and continue to need support.
All referrals to SFDA are managed by FDSAS.
Youth Justice can provide assistance, including case management and supervision, to young people (under 21) with matters in all Victorian criminal jurisdictions.
This support can include intensive bail supervision and is available to young people who are at risk of a custodial sentence.
For availability, intake and eligibility guidelines contact the local Youth Justice office or the court that your client is required to attend.
The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) can provide funding packages for people with a disability to spend on supports that are 'reasonable and necessary'.
The NDIS tailors funding to individuals to reflect their goals. These tailored funding packages are called 'NDIS plans'.
Some of the things that an NDIS plan can provide funding for:
Funding amounts are determined by the goals a person with disability has put in their NDIS plan.
The NDIS will determine what is reasonable and necessary support funding to achieve these goals.
A detailed list of the types of funding that are available through NDIS plans can be found on the NDIS 'price guides'.
An NDIS participant may be able to access Support Plan Coordinators.
Support Plan Coordinators work with NDIS participants to build the skills required to understand, implement and get the most out of their plan. They can help locate and negotiate with service providers, but they do not provide case management. Participants with complex needs may be entitled to funding for Specialist Support Coordinators.
For eligibility, application and support information see Access the NDIS.
Only around 10% of people with a disability (around 460,000 Australians) are expected to become NDIS participants (1).
If your client is not eligible for an NDIS plan, or they are waiting on approval from the NDIS, you might consider connecting them with disability advocates, housing providers, mental health support services and drug and alcohol support services.
Supporting Justice © Centre for Innovative Justice, RMIT University, 2019
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