The Department of Justice and Community Safety Disability action plan Framework 2019-2022 outlines how we as a department will continue ongoing work to become a disability confident employer and reduce barriers experienced by people with disability in accessing the justice system.

In the Disability Action Plan Framework 2019-2022:

  • Message from the Secretary
  • Disability in Victoria
  • Legislative and policy context
  • Achieving outcomes
  • Equal rights and opportunities
  • Access and inclusion
  • Recognising and valuing diversity

Message from the Secretary

The Disability Action Plan 2019-22 continues the Department of Justice and Community Safety’s ongoing work to reduce barriers experienced by Victorians living with disability in accessing justice services and participating in the life of the State.

Almost one in five Victorians have a disability. We recognise that people living with disability encounter barriers to participation in the things most people take for granted.

We acknowledge our responsibility to improve access to employment for people with disability and during the term of this Plan will engage principles and initiatives contained in Getting to Work: the Victorian public sector disability employment action plan 2018-2025.

We understand our responsibility to ensure that the justice system is accessible to all Victorians including people living with disability. That means maintaining buildings and physical environments that can be accessed.  It means ensuring that information we produce is available to all and it means that the events and activities we plan are done so in such a way as to include everyone.

Goals presented in this Plan include the promotion of equal rights and opportunities for people living with disability, maintaining an accessible justice system and recognising and valuing diversity.  In continuing our work towards these goals, we celebrate the contribution that all people bring to the organisation through varied experiences, views and lifestyles and we look forward to further enriching our department through the promotion of inclusion and diversity.

Rebecca Falkingham
Secretary
Department of Justice and Community Safety

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Disability in Victoria

In Victoria, there are over 1 million people with a disability – one in six people in the community. Australia-wide, almost one in five people have a disability (from Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers 2015: State and Territory Australian Tables, Australian Bureau of Statistics).

For almost 80% of Victorians, their disability restricts them in some way from performing basic daily living activities of communication, mobility and self-care.

Over a third (34%) of Victorians with disability have a profound or severe disability, which means they sometimes need assistance with core activities.

Experience of people with a disability

  • Not all people with a disability are the same: their needs may be complex, varied and/or change over time. Some people experience barriers and disadvantage on a number of levels
  • Barriers experienced by people with a disability may be physical, communication related, employment or educational.
    Others are attitudinal, including stigma, prejudice (intentional or otherwise) and discrimination
  • The participation rate in the workforce is 53% for people with a disability compared to 83% of people who do not have a disability.

"For many people with a disability, the greatest barrier is not their disability but confronting negative attitudes, overcoming outdated stereotypes and challenging the limitations placed on them by others. What they lack is not ability but opportunity."

From Shut Out: The experience of people with disabilities and their families in Australia

The experience of carers

  • Families and carers of people with a disability contribute to the total number of people in our community who are impacted by issues of disability
  • In 2015, there were 2.7 million Australians providing informal care to people with a disability. One in 10 Australian households includes an informal primary carer, one third of whom provide over 40 hours of unpaid care a week
  • This has an impact on carers’ ability to participate in the workforce and when they do participate, their average income is 42% lower than non-carers
  • One third of primary carers have a disability themselves.

Community attitudes

Attitudes play a key part in the way we engage with people with a disability and the way that people with a disability engage with their community.

  • The closer proximity people had to someone with a disability, the more they perceived there was prejudice against people with a disability (from British Social Attitudes Survey 2005)
  • One fifth (21%) of 18 – 34 year olds admit that they have actually avoided talking to a person with a disability because they were unsure how to communicate with them (from Current attitudes towards disabled people, Scope UK)
  • Nearly a quarter (23%) of people with a disability identified local authority and government staff as a group whose attitudes they would like to see change for the better. This was the second-highest identified group (after the general public).

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Defining disability

There are a number of ways to define disability:

  • Legal definitions – such as the Commonwealth Disability Discrimination Act 1992 and Victorian Disability Act 2006, which provide a framework to promote rights and to identify and reduce discrimination
  • Medical models – which define disability in relation to an individual’s health conditions or impairments. For example, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V) provides a list of disorders and diagnosis criteria for medical staff and researchers
  • Social models – which focus on the interaction between people and their environment. For example, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with a Disability (External link) recognises that “disability results from the interaction between persons with impairments and attitudinal and environmental barriers that hinders their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others".

Consistent with these definitions and models, the Department of Justice and Community Safety (DJCS) recognises the importance that interactions with the environment and society play in disability and that they may:

  • occur at any stage during a person’s life
  • be present at birth or acquired
  • be permanent or temporary
  • be obvious or hidden
  • be of varying levels of severity – from mild to profound (where a person will always need help with everyday activities)
  • occur at any stage during a person’s life.

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Our commitment

Our vision is of a department that celebrates a workforce that includes people with disability and an inclusive and accessible justice and regulation system that enables people with disability, their families and carers, to fulfil their potential as members of the Victorian community.

Our Diversity and Inclusion Statement

This statement makes clear the department’s position on diversity and how we will work with the diverse individuals and groups that we serve and employ. An inclusive and responsive department is essential to achieving our vision of "a justice and community safety system that works together to build a safer, fairer and stronger Victoria".

Aims

This disability action plan (DAP) aims to create real change for people with disability and those who care for them. Reflecting the aims of the Disability Act, we plan to do this by reducing barriers experienced by people with disability and promoting their inclusion in the community. Key to achieving these aims is changing the underlying attitudes and practices which may discriminate against people with disability. 

Principles

The following principles underpin this Disability Action Plan. These principles have been developed in accordance, and align, with our legislative and human rights obligations.

Fairness

Equity, accessibility and inclusiveness are key drivers for progressing outcomes and actions under this Disability Action Plan.

Community safety

Victorian communities are safe and Victorians feel confident about their safety.

Human rights and social justice

The rights of all Victorians with a disability are protected through a just, responsive and accessible justice and regulation system in which the Victorian community has confidence. The rights of justice employees with a disability are recognised, protected and promoted.

Self-determination

Victorians with a disability are empowered to freely make decisions about their lives.

Respect

The experiences and expertise of people with a disability are respected, and they are consulted about policies and decisions that affect them. The needs of individuals and their carers are the focus of the services we provide.

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Legislative and policy context

The DJCS Plan contributes to efforts across government and the community to improve outcomes for people with disabilities. As such, the plan has been developed in the context of the department’s obligations under the Victorian Disability Act and Absolutely everyone: State disability plan 2017 – 2020 (External link), and a wider legislative and policy context. The plan also responds to the specific issues experienced by people who come into contact with the justice system and is guided by lessons learnt from previous plans.

The DJCS Plan contributes to efforts across government and the community to improve outcomes for people with disabilities. As such, the Plan has been developed in the context of the department’s obligations under the Victorian Disability Act and State Disability Plan, and a wider legislative and policy context. The Plan also responds to the specific issues experienced by people who come into contact with the justice system and is guided by lessons learnt from previous plans.

The DJCS Plan draws on principles and themes contained in and through:

Commonwealth legislation, national agreements and international obligations

  • The United Nations International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities – of which Australia is a signatory
  • Disability Discrimination Act 1992 – provides protection for everyone in Australia against discrimination based on disability
  • National Disability Strategy 2010-2020 – an initiative of the Council of Australian Governments – endorsed by all State and Territory leaders.

Victorian legislation

  • Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006 – sets out freedoms, rights and responsibilities for all people in Victoria
  • Victorian Equal Opportunity Act 2010 – encourages the identification and elimination of discrimination and to promote equality of opportunity in Victoria
  • Disability Act 2006 – requires the department to have a Disability Action Plan which addresses specific barriers facing people with a disability.

Stakeholder feedback

  • DJCS Disability Stakeholder Forum
  • DJCS and VPS Enablers Network
  • Reference Group
  • Evaluation of DJCS’ previous DAP
  • Consultation with key stakeholders.

Victorian government policy

  • The Victorian State Disability Plan 2017-2020 – an overarching framework for promoting the inclusion of Victorians with a disability and addressing the barriers they face
  • Whole of government priorities – a framework for current priorities across the state government.

The Plan also endeavours to complement the DJCS Vision and Purpose:

  • Vision – A justice and community safety system that works together to build a safer, fairer and stronger Victoria.
  • Purpose – To provide: safer communities; a responsive, efficient justice system; well-equipped emergency services; responsible, balanced regulation; and excellence in service delivery.

Achieving outcomes

There is no point in having a Disability Action Plan unless it leads to positive change in the way that we work and in our programs and services. To make sure the change we are looking for occurs, this Plan focuses on outcomes and the structures that are needed to achieve them.

The department’s Disability Action Plan and Cultural Diversity Plan share basic goals and outcomes, with a structure based on the department’s outcomes framework.

  • This document is the Framework and it defines the key goals of the Plan, the underpinning outcomes of those goals and indicators of success.
  • The specific actions that will be undertaken towards achieving the outcomes of this DAP are set out in the Implementation Plan, which we will report on each year and make changes to over the four-year life of the DAP as work is completed and new work identified.

Goals

The following three goals have been identified as priority areas:

  • a fair justice system that promotes equal rights and opportunities
  • an accessible and inclusive justice system
  • a department that recognises and values diversity.

Inherent across these goals is a commitment on the part of the department to work towards attaining employment targets set out in Getting to Work: the Victorian public sector disability employment action plan 2018-2025.  Getting to Work sets a six percent employment target across all Victorian government departments and Victoria Police by 2020, increasing to twelve percent by 2025.

We recognise that engaging constructively and creatively with people living with disability results in positive outcomes for the whole community.  To this end, during the term of this and future DAPs, the department will conduct ongoing conversations with the VPS and DJCS Enablers Network to ensure that we engage in inclusive approaches and practices that bring about significant benefits in terms of greater tolerance, appreciation of diversity and, in turn, participation of people with a disability.

Data

A key focus of this Plan will be on establishing a base line in relation to service provision and the experiences of people with a disability. Benchmarking through the collection and analysis of data allows us to see where we are and how we are progressing towards our outcomes. It allows us to facilitate change, look at new ways of doing things, learn from others and promote changes to practices and culture.

An outcomes-driven approach requires rigour around data collection and evaluation of the programs and services we provide.

Governance

An implementation and monitoring committee, chaired by the Deputy Secretary, Criminal Law Policy and Operations, will be formed to provide senior level oversight of the implementation of the Disability Action Plan and the department’s Cultural Diversity Plan.

The Department’s Diversity Issues Unit will be responsible for liaising with DJCS business units in relation to their actions under the DAP and will manage annual reporting.

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Implementing and monitoring the Framework

A formal external evaluation of the 2012-2016 Disability Action Plan was conducted and provided valuable feedback towards the development of the current DAP. Recommendations included:

  • a streamlined, more focussed DAP
  • a stronger focus on the collection and use of data to identify gaps, benchmark progress and underpin strategies
  • better integration into business unit planning and reporting.

The Framework Implementation Plan

The DAP outcomes and indicators provide a framework for business units to develop specific actions to be included in the DAP implementation plan. The implementation plan will be a living document, updated annually as new opportunities are identified and projects are completed. 

Year 1 – 2017-2018 – the focus will be on:

  • identifying data sources and benchmarking
  • further identifying and engaging stakeholders
  • identifying potential opportunities that require preplanning
  • actions to provide a good foundation for further work.

Year 2 – 2019-2020 – the focus will be on:

  • embedding the actions of phase one
  • identifying and developing phase two actions
  • a mid-term review will be conducted at the end of year 2.

Years 3 and 4 – 2020-2022 – the focus will be on:

  • implementing learnings from phase one
  • implementing phase two actions
  • continuing to work on developing, evaluating and analysing robust data sources, embedding engagement and furthering outcomes for people with disability
  • developing the next iteration of the disability action plan.

An evaluation will be conducted during Year 4.

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Monitoring and evaluating

All relevant business units will be involved in detailed annual reporting against the implementation plan, coordinated by the Inclusion and Intersectionality Unit.  A summary of our progress will be published in the department’s annual report, in accordance with our legislative obligation under the Disability Act.

A mid-term review will be conducted at the end of year two. The focus of this review will be:

  • the department’s progress towards the outcomes outlined in the DAP
  • the success of data collection in identifying baselines and gaps
  • future directions for phase two actions.

A formal external evaluation will be conducted towards the end of year four to identify the successes and challenges of the current DAP, as well as provide recommendations for the development of the 2022-2025 DAP.

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Equal rights and opportunities

Goal: A fair justice system that promotes equal rights and opportunities

 

Outcome 1: Victorians with a disability take up opportunities to exercise their rights

Outcome indicators:

  • Increase understanding of rights
  • Increase participation in the justice process
  • Increase trust in and connection with the justice and regulation systems.
 

Outcome 2: People with a disability participate in the Victorian community

Outcome indicators:

Increase participation in areas of the community related to justice and regulation, including, but not limited to:

  • Increase pathways to employment
  • Continue work set out in Getting to Work to achieve a six percent employment target across all Victorian government departments and Victoria Police by 2020, increasing to twelve percent by 2025
  • Increase in level of preparedness for disasters
  • Increase participation in community recovery.
 

Outcome 3: The composition of our paid and volunteer workforce reflects a diverse cross-section of the population, and our people are provided with opportunities, experience and career pathways consistent with principles and targets contained in the VPS’ Getting to Work: the Victorian public sector disability employment action plan 2018-2025. 

Outcome indicators:

  • Increase recruitment to employment
  • Increase recruitment to volunteer roles
  • Increase participation on boards and committees
  • Increase retention
  • Increase career progression in paid workforce
  • Increase participation in professional development and learning opportunities.

Case example – Disability Scholarship Program

Barriers to education mean that, in Victoria, more than one in four people with disability (26 per cent) do not study beyond year 10, compared to 18 per cent of people without disability.  This can have flow-on impacts on employment and income for the rest of their lives.

The annual DJCS Disability Scholarships Program was established in 2005 to provide support to tertiary students with a disability who are undertaking studies in justice-related courses. Since 2014, an additional scholarship has been included for a DJCS staff member with disability.

Our scholarship program is one way we are supporting people with disability to participate in the Victorian community and increasing pathways to employment. My years in my undergraduate degree were filled with ups and downs. My first semester was so overwhelming that I was convinced that I couldn’t continue…

This scholarship has allowed me to dedicate sufficient time to my studies and be involved in extra-curricular projects and networking opportunities that will help me gain employment in my chosen field.

It is my goal to use my degree to facilitate greater access to justice and understanding of the law.

I would like to thank the Department of Justice for this very humbling honour, hopefully it can be expanded to include more students in the coming years.

Bree O’Dwyer, scholarship recipient 2016

 

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Access and inclusion

Goal: An accessible and inclusive justice system

 

Outcome 4: The experiences and views of people living with disability informs and shapes our decision-making

Outcome indicators:

  • Increase opportunity for people with a disability to provide input into planning and programs
  • Increase community engagement.
 

Outcome 5: Our information, communications, events and services and services we fund are appropriate and accessible to people with a disability

Outcome indicators:

  • Decrease in barriers to accessing information and services
  • Increase in number of people with a disability reporting that DJCS services are appropriate and accessible
  • Decrease barriers to participating in events
  • Increase understanding of DJCS information and communications
  • Increase consistency of information and service response provided.
 

Outcome 6: Our workplaces and buildings are safe and accessible

Outcome indicators:

  • Increase compliance with safety and accessibility requirements of our buildings and workplaces
  • Increase in compliance with safety and accessibility requirements of venues we hire for events
  • Decrease physical barriers to workplaces, buildings and events.
 

Outcome 7: Our workforce has the attitude and capability to provide appropriate services, information and support to people with a disability

Outcome indicators:

  • Increase skill set of the workforce
  • Increase positive attitudes relating to disability
  • Increase confidence in delivering appropriate information and services
  • Decrease complaints relating to services and communication.

Case example – Disability and Mental Health Awareness Training

Research has found that the less exposure people have to disability, the less comfortable they feel around people with disability (British Social Attitudes Survey 2005) and up to two thirds of people feel uncomfortable even speaking to people with disability (Current attitudes towards disabled people)

The simplest way for DJCS staff to improve their comfort, confidence and capability in working with people with disability is to attend the department’s Disability Awareness Training and Mental Health Awareness Training sessions.

“having trainers with a disability who were open to any and all questions assisted me to feel easier about the subject.”

“the personal stories from facilitators and interactive training style really helped and strengthened my knowledge”

“the training will help us engage better and provide better outcomes for our clients”

“this training will allow me to be more confident when dealing with people with mental illness or disability”

“the program was fantastic, and I will be taking a lot away from it. A very insightful session, all DJCS employees should get to do this course”

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Recognising and valuing diversity

Goal: A department that recognises and values diversity

 

Outcome 8: The department demonstrates leadership and accountability in improving outcomes for people with a disability

Outcome indicators:

  • Increase number of successfully progressed actions that create positive outcomes for people with a disability (including those from the DAP)
  • Increase in staff awareness of and commitment to DAP actions
  • Increase in department involvement or leadership in relevant networks, programs and initiatives that drive outcomes for people with a disability
  • Engage the VPS and DJCS Enablers Network ensuring that staff with a disability are involved in the formulation of departmental policies and practices.
 

Outcome 9: Disability inclusion is supported by our tools, policies, procedures and data

Outcome indicators:

  • Increase in data available relating to people with a disability
  • DJCS has tools, policies and procedures to support disability inclusion.
 

Outcome 10: We are an employer of choice and attract talent from a diverse cross-section of the population

Outcome indicators:

  • Increase in positive visibility of disability
  • Increase in our profile as an employer of choice for people with a disability.

Case example – Supporting people with disability in the community through social procurement

The department’s Corporate Social Responsibility Procedure encourages staff to consider the impacts of their decisions and activities on society and the environment.

Through “social procurement” we can create positive impacts in the community whenever we are procuring goods or services.

Suppliers who employ people with disability, provide services in the community, or raise awareness of disability issues can be supported through our procurement choices.

Think: how can my procurement choices support people with disability?

How can it help improve:

  • access to employment?
  • access to goods, services and facilities?
  • inclusion and participation in the community?

How can my choices help raise awareness and reduce stigma and discrimination within the department and the community?

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