Women With Disabilities Australia (WWDA) and People with Disability Australia (PWDA) have joined forces to make a powerful submission to the Australian Law Reform Commission’s inquiry on Justice Responses to Sexual Violence. 

The submission highlights the significant barriers women with disabilities face in reporting and seeking justice for sexual violence and provides comprehensive recommendations to ensure a fairer system.

Key Points:

  • Underreporting: Women with disabilities are significantly less likely to report sexual violence due to fear of disbelief and lack of accessible reporting mechanisms.
  • Police Responses: Police often lack training and understanding of the needs of victims with disabilities, leading to negative experiences and misidentification of perpetrators.
  • Lack of Support: Women with disabilities need tailored support services and legal processes that are accessible and trauma informed.
  • Recommendations: WWDA and PWDA call for a comprehensive overhaul of the justice system, including:
    • Embedding disability rights in training and procedures
    • Implementing trauma-informed approaches
    • Prioritising women with disabilities in national violence prevention plans
    • Improving accessibility of legal services and information

WWDA and PWDA urge the ALRC to fully consider these recommendations and work collaboratively with women with disabilities to create a justice system that upholds the rights and dignity of all survivors.