Disability Legal WA - Officially Launching!

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Disability Legal WA (DLWA) provides a single point of entry for any client with a disability wanting to access Legal Aid WA services. With centralised triaging, case management and information sharing across relevant programs, DLWA provides a holistic and streamlined approach to service delivery for people with disabilities.

As well as creating an umbrella under which to house some of our existing services, the development of DLWA has helped us identify gaps and create new programs that will assist in ensuring a wrap-around service for people with disabilities. Both the existing and new programs that will be housed within DLWA are detailed below.

DARDY

The Disability Advocacy and Remand Diversion Service for Young People, or DARDY, was established by Legal Aid WA as a pilot program in November 2022 to provide a holistic, therapeutic, and trauma-informed service to support young people under 25 with a disability or suspected disability who are in contact with the justice system. DARDY works in partnership with State-wide agencies and young people who may be experiencing difficulties due to disability to develop positive pathways to necessary supports. DARDY aims to improve outcomes and to create better, stronger futures.

Bail Support Service

Legal Aid WA's Bail Support Service assists people charged with criminal offences to deal the personal, social and health issues that affect their ability to get bail or to comply with their bail conditions.

The goal of the Bail Support Service is to reduce the overall number of people that are remanded in custody. In particular, the Bail Support Service hopes to help address the over-representation of Aboriginal people in remand custody, as well as people with disability, mental health difficulties and those experiencing homelessness.

The Bail Support Service is a voluntary service for people with criminal matters listed in the Perth Magistrates Court and Perth District Court. The Service is for anyone who fits the eligibility guidelines, even if they are not being assisted by a lawyer from Legal Aid WA. The Bail Support Service can be particularly helpful for people who are homeless, have mental health issues, have an intellectual or cognitive disability, or have drug or alcohol dependency issues.

NDIS Appeals

Legal Aid WA provides advice and legal assistance for appealing NDIS internal review decisions to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) through its NDIS Appeals Service. This service may be able to assist where there has been an internal review decision by the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) that a person does not meet the NDIS access eligibility criteria. It may also assist where there has been a decision not to fund certain supports in a person’s plan (for individuals who are already NDIS participants), and this decision has been appealed to the AAT.

NDIS Early Advice

This new service in Disability Legal WA provides NDIS advice to existing Legal Aid WA clients who have issues with access or supports and are not going through an AAT appeal. The service will also be delivering Community Legal Education sessions aimed at increasing knowledge about how to access the NDIS, and for those who already have access, how to get the funded supports they need. The service is currently seeking expressions of interest from groups who would like to host an NDIS Early Advice Community Legal Education session. Sessions can be tailored to suit the participants and are presented by staff who are experience in both disability assistance and the legal sector. 

For more information, or to register your interest in the educational program, please email  CLE@legalaid.wa.gov.au.

IDDP and the Start Court

The Intellectual Disability Diversion Program (IDDP) Court seeks to reduce the number of individuals in the adult criminal justice system who may have an intellectual or cognitive disability, acquired brain injury, or autism spectrum disorder.

By identifying undiagnosed disabilities, linking individuals in with appropriate supports and services, and achieving outcomes that are fair and appropriate when the person’s impairment or disability is considered, the court aims to reduce future contact with the criminal justice system improving community safety.

There are dedicated Legal Aid WA duty lawyers who attend this court each week.

The Start Court is a partnership between the Mental Health Commission and the Department of Justice. The Start Court is operated by a dedicated team that includes a Magistrate, mental health clinicians, community support coordinators, and dedicated Police Prosecutors, Community Corrections personnel and a dedicated Legal Aid WA duty lawyer.

The Start Court combines access to mental health supports and services, and support for drug and alcohol use (if required), with regular appearances before the Start Court Magistrate.

If you are unrepresented, our Duty Lawyer service is available to assist you in both Courts. The duty lawyer can attend pre-court meetings and help to manage participants through the process.

Disability Legal WA also have dedicated lawyers for clients with a grant of aid who have experience working with individuals with disabilities.

Disclaimer

The information displayed on this page is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. If you have a legal problem, you should see a lawyer. Legal Aid Western Australia aims to provide information that is accurate, however does not accept responsibility for any errors or omissions in the information provided on this page or incorporated into it by reference.