Barriers to Justice Services

Audience: Police, legal/justice professionals
Runtime: 3.22
Focus: People with communication disabilities may require supports when accessing legal and justice services.

Audience: Everyone
Runtime: 13.36
Focus: An interview about the need for accessible legal and justice services for people with communication disabilities.

People who have communication disabilities may experience one or more of the following barriers when accessing the justice system.

They may:

  • Not have ways to communicate what happened
  • Not be able to communicate with police or justice professionals using communication methods other than speech
  • Not understand questions posed to them
  • Be assumed to have a cognitive disability
  • Have no way get to a police service
  • Have nobody to assist them in communicating with police or justice professionals
  • Not be able to afford or to access legal advice
  • Be afraid of retaliation
  • Be afraid they will not be believed.
In addition, Police, Legal and Justice Professionals may:
  • Confuse communication skills and capacity
  • Assume capacity without the provision of communication accommodations and supports
  • Defer to relatives/staff to “speak for” the individual
  • Rely on people to assist communication who may NOT be impartial, neutral or qualified and who may be the offender
  • Not identify the need for or know how to provide communication accommodations and supports