(1) What was the Government’s response to the Council for Intellectual Disability’s open letter about the Cognitive Impairment Diversion Program?
(a) What evaluation or assessment has the Government made of the outcomes of this program?
(2) How has the Government responded to the Justice Advocacy Services’ independent evaluation of this program?
(3) How will the Government ensure people with cognitive impairments can properly navigate the criminal justice system now that funding for the Cognitive Impairment Diversion Program is ending?
(4) What plans does the Government have to replace this program?
(5) What further plans does the Government have to reduce the overrepresentation of people living with intellectual and other cognitive disability in the criminal justice system?
I am advised:
The Government is committed to improving outcomes for people with cognitive impairment in the criminal justice system. Over the next four years, $28 million will be invested to continue the Justice Advocacy Service (JAS) state-wide and establish court-based diversion services in six local courts.
This commitment follows a positive independent evaluation of JAS, which has provided critical support in over 4,500 cases for victims, witnesses, suspects and defendants since July 2019. The evaluation can be found at https://www.justice.nsw.gov.au/diversityservices/Documents/evaluation-of-the-justice-advocacy-service-report.PDF.
The new court-based diversion service will build on the supports offered by JAS by providing more targeted assistance to people accused of low-level offences in need of treatment and support.
It will help defendants access a cognitive assessment, develop tailored support plans, connect them with relevant services like the National Disability Insurance Scheme and provide accurate and relevant information to assist magistrates with their decision making.
It will be informed by best practice and the independent evaluation of the earlier Cognitive Impairment Diversion Program (CIDP) pilot.