The Disability Justice Project was delivered by a partnership of three agencies. The lead agency was the Association of Children’s Welfare Agencies (ACWA) with the work primarily being carried out through its training arm, CCWT:
The partner agencies were:
Life Without Barriers (LWB) is a national not-for-profit organisation working in more than 260 communities across Australia, and delivering services in the areas of disability, out-of-home care, aged care, mental health and support for refugee and asylum seekers. They also provide services to homeless people and to youth involved with the justice system.
LWB was established over 20 years ago through the shared determination of local community members in Newcastle who wanted to improve the lives of people with a disability. Motivated by their own experiences and in response to demand for local disability support services, they decided to act. Generating interest in the community, proposing to create a new non-government organisation for supporting people living with disability, a Board was formed and Life Without Barriers was established.
They believe in the rights of people and the importance of relationships. These foundations shape their unique approach to care and underpin the purpose, vision and values of the organisation.
Intellectual Disability Rights Service (IDRS) is a disability advocacy organisation and community legal centre providing assistance to people with intellectual disability throughout NSW. IDRS provides legal assistance with a wide range of legal and rights problems. Each year 500 people with intellectual disability involved in criminal matters, as either defendants or victims, receive advocacy and support at police stations, legal appointments and court through their Criminal Justice Support Network. They also provide assistance to parents with intellectual disability who are at risk of having their children removed.
IDRS facilitates rights education with people with intellectual disability and delivers training to the disability and justice sectors. They work for policy and law reforms in the interests of people with disability.
Centre for Community Welfare Training (CCWT) is a Registered Training Organisation (RTO) providing cost effective and accessible training opportunities for people working across the community welfare sector – with a particular focus on organisations working with vulnerable children, young people and families.
CCWT provides calendar-based and in-house training, as well as specialised programs, coaching and supervision, and is the largest not-for-profit, non-government, community-services training provider in NSW.
CCWT sits within ACWA – The Association of Children’s Welfare Agencies. ACWA is the non-government peak body for NSW and the ACT, representing the voice of community organisations working with vulnerable children, young people and their families.
The project partner team members
The DJP Working Group project team had representatives from ACWA/CCWT, IDRS and LWB and coordinated all training for the project. The Project also had a Steering Committee, to guide the project and provide oversight on governance issues.
The Working Group included:
Project Manager, Disability Practice & Quality NSW/ACT
Susan has been in Australia for 5 years working with The Benevolent Society as a Team Leader for their Fostering Young Lives OOHC program, Life Without Barriers as a Policy Advisor for NSW/ACT and more recently in Western Sydney LHD supporting adolescents and their families with mental illness and behavioural issues at Westmead Hospital in their acute inpatient ward, and outpatient facilities.
Prior to relocating to Australia Susan worked for several years in Northern Ireland’s homelessness sector, high and medium risk probation hostels, group homes for people with epilepsy in England, and also within a statutory child protection role within a tertiary hospital in their maternity department.
Susan has a BSc Psychology, BSW Social Work and an Advanced Diploma in Counselling.
Mandy Marsters is a Cook Islands Maori woman, and a staunch advocate for the rights of colonised, Indigenous people in their own lands, particularly to self-determination.
With 25 years experience in the welfare sector, Mandy has worked in a wide range of roles including as a social worker, counsellor, clinical supervisor, coordinator and educator. She has particular expertise working with clients with complex issues, including mental health and substance use disorders and reintegration into the community after prison. She is a qualified social worker and alcohol and other drugs counsellor, and holds Diplomas in Community Services Coordination, Mental Health/Alcohol and other Drugs, and Management. Mandy also holds a Certificate IV in Workplace Training and Education and a post graduate Adult Education degree.
Janene Cootes is the Executive Officer of Intellectual Disability Rights Service. She has worked with people with disability in residential and community services.
She was instrumental in the setting up the Intellectual Disability Rights Service in 1986. Since then her work has focused on harnessing the power of the law for the benefit of people with disability in various positions.
Janene returned to Intellectual Disability Rights Service in 2002 as an educator and was responsible for establishing the education arm of the Criminal Justice Support Network in its early years.
Janene has extensive experience in supporting people with intellectual disability in the justice system and developing and delivering training about the criminal justice system. Janene is a member of the Guardianship Division of NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal.
Project Manager for the Disability Justice Project and Training Services Manager, CCWT
Graham Barr took over responsibility for the Disability Justice Project at the end of February, 2016. Previously he had been Marketing and Communication Manager for ACWA/CCWT and continues to retain responsibility for many areas of this role.
Prior to joining ACWA/CCWT Graham held a variety of management positions in the IT and telecommunications industry, including Head of Marketing, as well as senior Project Management and Product Development roles. Originally from the UK, Graham has been in Australia for 30 years and holds an MSc in Educational Psychology.
The Steering Committee includes:
The Steering Committee guided the project and provided oversight on governance issues. It consisted of people with experience in the area of intellectual disabilities, the criminal justice system and with issues that can co-exist with disability, such as physical disability, alcohol and other drugs and mental health issues:
Consultant with expertise in alcohol and other drugs (AOD), mental health and justice sectors for the past 23 years. Alison has particular expertise in development and training on motivational interviewing since 1989 when she worked in collaboration with Dr Stephen Rollick. Alison has ongoing roles with Juvenile Justice, Schizophrenia Fellowship of NSW, NSW Institute of Psychiatry, NSW Department of Education and Communities and the Mental Health Coordinating Council.
Lecturer, Researcher and Academic Course Advisor (Bachelor of Social Work & Community Welfare) for the School of Social Sciences, University of Western Sydney, PhD (Curtin University of Technology).
Dr. Drake has a demonstrated interest in people with mental health and intellectual disabilities, and alcohol and other drug issues.
Leanne Dowse is Associate Professor and Chair in Intellectual Disability and Behaviour Support in the School of Social Sciences, UNSW. The work of the Chair aims to expand the body of knowledge and increase workforce capacity in the delivery of appropriate and effective services to people with an intellectual disability with complex and challenging behaviour through a focus on training and education, enhanced policy and service models and targeted research.
Her recent work addresses issues for people with complex needs, particularly the intersections of cognitive and psychosocial disability with other dimensions of social disadvantage and the ways these interlock for people in the criminal justice system as both victims and offenders. She also undertakes research examining the intersection of disability, gender and violence.
Bradley Foxlewin currently holds the role of Deputy Commissioner of the Mental Health Commission of NSW. He is an independent mental health consumer consultant, member and past chair of the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) Mental Health Consumer Network. Bradley works as a trainer, group-worker, consultant and researcher, all from a consumer-first position.
Bradley’s extensive qualifications include MAppSc (Social Ecology- Major: Organisational Change), Cert. IV in TAE, Dip: Community Studies (Welfare) with Honours, Dip: Community Services (Mental Health).
Michael Hampton has been the Advocacy Program Manager at the Brain Injury Association (now Synapse) for 3 years. In this role he has regularly assisted members at court proceedings. Prior to this he worked with the Multicultural Disability Advocacy Association and a Tenancy Advocacy service.
Michael practised as a Solicitor from 1989 to 2001 and worked with Legal Aid practising extensively in the Criminal jurisdiction.
Director, Centre for Community Welfare Training
Linda Watson has extensive experience in learning and development. She has a particular interest in embedding learning into organisational processes and everyday work. Linda maintains her training skills through offering training and assessment in CCWT’s management and leadership team.
Daryl Neal has previous experience working in ADHC as Manager Behaviour Support in Disability Services. Daryl coordinated clinical services to meet the needs of clients with cognitive disabilities who have had contact with the criminal justice system.
Daryl developed state-wide policies and procedures for this population, and developed training packages for staff with supervisory responsibilities in this area.
As Manager Behaviour Support Daryl instigated client focussed forums with an internationally recognised Forensic Psychiatrist, completing assessments and reviews of clients at risk of or in contact with the criminal justice system. These forums were directed at clients, managers, clinicians and support staff.
State Manager, Practice and Quality, Disability, Life Without Barriers
Supporting Life Without Barriers (LWB) service operations in NSW and ACT, Helen has over twenty five years’ experience working in and managing disability services, including Community Justice Programs (CJP). Helen’s previous roles in Ageing, Disability and Home Care included Regional Manager and Deputy Regional Director where she was responsible for both the operational and clinical oversight of staff in the CJP. Helen has been with LWB for over three years now, and currently coordinates a team of disability practice specialists who support, mentor and monitor disability services being delivered to people with complex needs including those in contact with the justice system.