Website link

Is it possible to be added to the ADJC newsletters mail outs..Currently I receive emails from Patrick McGee but they are going to an address of an ex-employee which will be cut off soon.

Warm regards

Louise Gray

Executive Officer

Join the NOFASD Australia network and support FASD prevention in Australia - Subscribe now

National Organisation for Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders Tel: 1300 306 238 or 0417 272 685

Patron: Dame Quentin Bryce ABN 9383 3563 942

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Fwd: Marlin

---------- Forwarded message ---------- From: judith mckinlay Date: Sat, Sep 24, 2016 at 9:47 AM Subject: Marlin To: Patrick McGee


This is the article on 9 News today,

UN condemns Aust for jailing impaired man [image: AAP] By


The United Nations has condemned Australia for violating the rights of a man with an intellectual disability after he was imprisoned for 10 years without ever being convicted of a crime.

Indigenous man Marlon Noble spent a decade behind bars in Western Australia over child sex abuse charges before he was released on parole-like conditions in 2012.

In findings handed down on Friday, UN experts said Mr Noble wasn't given enough support to defend himself against the charges or to stand trial.

Meningitis left Mr Noble intellectually impaired as a child, leaving the courts to rule him unfit to submit a plea on charges of sexually assaulting two minors when he was 19.

He took his complaint to the Geneva-based Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, whose members found he was never given the chance to plead not guilty and test the evidence submitted against him.

"He therefore never had the opportunity to have the criminal charges against him determined and his status as an alleged sexual offender cleared," the committee said in a statement on Friday evening.

He was detained without knowing when he would be released and subjected to "inhuman and degrading treatment" through the indefinite detention, according to the findings.

The UN has called on Australia to revoke the 10 conditions of his release, which constitute a violation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

© AAP 2016

Read more at condemns-aust-for-jailing-impaired-man#4QPhCeQtximTTcRI.99

News Release: United Nations Human Rights - Office of the High Commissioner

*Australia urged to amend laws that lead to people with mental disabilities being detained indefinitely*

GENEVA (23 September 2016) – Australia violated the rights of a man with an intellectual disability who was deemed unfit to stand trial but was nevertheless detained in prison for more than 10 years, thereby “converting his disability into the core cause of his detention,” UN experts have found.

Marlon James Noble, an Aboriginal man who was charged in 2001 with child sex abuse in Western Australia, brought his complaint to the Geneva-based Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).

Under Western Australia’s Criminal Law (Mentally Impaired Defendants) Act of 1996, once a person is found unfit to plead, he or she can be held in custody for an unlimited period. They have no possibility to go before the courts unless or until they are deemed able to understand the notion of criminal responsibility. Mr. Noble, who denied the charges, was detained until his conditional release in November 2012.

In its findings, the Committee noted that throughout Mr. Noble’s detention, “the whole judicial procedure focused on his mental capacity to stand trial without giving him any possibility to plead not guilty and test the evidence submitted against him.”

“He therefore never had the opportunity to have the criminal charges against him determined and his status as an alleged sexual offender cleared,” the Committee members found, highlighting that the charges were never proven. In addition, the authorities did not provide adequate support to enable him to stand trial and plead not guilty.

Under the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which Australia has ratified, States are obliged to recognise that people with disabilities enjoy legal capacity on an equal basis with all others in all aspects of life.

Mr. Noble was detained for more than 10 years without knowing how long he would be in custody, the CRPD noted.

“Taking into account the irreparable psychological effects that indefinite detention may have on the detained person, the Committee considers that the indefinite detention he was subjected to amounted to inhuman and degrading treatment,” members wrote.

The CRPD called on Australia to provide Mr. Noble with an effective remedy and immediately revoke the 10 conditions of his release, which members found also constituted a violation of the Convention.

Australia is also obliged to take measures to prevent similar violations, including making the necessary amendments to the Mentally Impaired Defendants Act (WA) and all equivalent or related Federal or state laws.


For more information and media requests, please contact Liz Throssell (+41 (0) 22 917 9466/ +41 79 752 0488 /

Read the advisory online: NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=20566&LangID=E

The Committee’s findings, known as Views, were published in full here on 22 September:

*Background: *

Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities:

CRPD is composed of 18 independent human rights experts drawn from around the world. They serve in their personal capacity and not as representatives of States parties. The Committee’s concluding observations are an independent assessment of States’ compliance with their human rights obligations under the treaty. More information on the CRPD: *10 years of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities *

This year is the 10th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which was adopted by the UN General Assembly on 13 December 2006 and came into force on 3 May 2008.

For your news websites and social media: Multimedia content & key messages relating to our news releases are available on UN Human Rights social media channels, listed below. Please tag us using the proper handles: Twitter: @UNHumanRights Facebook: unitednationshumanrights Instagram:* unitednationshumanrights* Google+: unitednationshumanrights Youtube: unohchr

ABC Radio Alice Springs: Malcolm Moreton Interviews

Dear ADJC Supporters

Please find the link to interviews with Emma Huskins on ABC Alice Springs last week concerning Malcolm Moreton

Interview 1 is with me and tells the story of how Malcolm and I came to know each other

Interview 2 is with Tania Collins Malcolm Moreton's lawyer from The Central Australian Aboriginal Legal Aid Service

Interview 3 is with Mr Mark Payne Northern Territory Commissioner for Corrections

Interviews 2 and 3 are well worth listening to and concern the conditions under which Malcolm is currently held and the question of where should Malcolm be detained in order to receive treatment.  


Here is the link


Many thanks to ABC Alice Springs for taking such an interest in this issue.

Kind regards


Patrick McGee

Media Links: Use of the Restraint Chair 17 times on a Person with an Intellectual Disability

Dear ADJC Supporters

Please find attached the links to the story by Natasha Robinson from the ABC regarding the use of the restraint chair by NT Corrections on a person with an intellectual disability

ABC News Breakfast Footage Link


Radio National AM Program Link


Radio National PM Program Link


Interview with Damian Griffis - First People Disability Network



Kind Regards,


Patrick McGee

ADJC Coordinator

0448 610 105

Senator Rachel Siewert (Greens) Re-Elected

Dear ADJC Supporters,

It has just been announced that Senator Rachel Siewert (Greens WA) has been re-elected to the Senate

Senator Siewert who was the Greens spokeswoman on Disability issues has been a significant supporter of the work of the Aboriginal Disability Justice Campaign. Senator Siewert has been instrumental in having the Senate investigate Indefinite Detention

As coordinator of the ADJC I would like to offer my congratulations (a breathe a big sigh of relief for her relection) to Senator Siewert

Kind Regards

Patrick McGee ADJC Coordinator 0448 610 105

Willing to Work Report - Australian Human Rights Commission

Dear ADJC Supporters

Too many older people and people with disability are denied jobs because of discrimination based on age or disability.

Speaking today at the launch of* Willing To Work*, Age and Disability Discrimination Commissioner Susan Ryan warned that people in their 50s who lose their jobs face decades of unemployment.

“Australian Bureau of Statistics data shows that while people aged 55 years and over make up roughly a quarter of the population, they only make up 16% of the total Australian workforce.

“This age cohort is the fastest growing in Australia, and will remain so for the foreseeable future.”

Commissioner Ryan said workforce participation declines sharply with age.

She said almost 74% of Australians aged 55–59 had jobs last year, but this dropped to 56.5% of 60–64 year olds, and fell to 12.7% of people over 65.

“This sharp decline cannot be allowed to continue.

“The number of over 65s will double by 2055, when life expectancy will be well over 90 for both men and women.

“Without the changes we recommend, people who lose their jobs in their 50s may live up to another forty years without paid employment.”

Commissioner Ryan said people with disability also experienced a significant level of discrimination in employment.

“People with disability are more likely to be unemployed than people without disability and to have longer periods of unemployment.

“People who are willing to work but are denied the opportunity are also denied the personal and social benefits of dignity, independence, a sense of purpose and the social connectedness that work brings.

“Many highly skilled individuals are being shut out of work because of underlying assumptions, stereotypes or myths associated with their age or their disability.”

Commissioner Ryan described the Willing to Work report as “an historic first”.

“We have never had such a clear or detailed national picture of what happens to older workers and those with disability in the labour market.

“The exclusion of capable and skilled older people and people with disability from the workplace results in a massive waste of human capital and productivity. It drives increases in public expenditure that in the long term are not sustainable,” she said.

Key recommendations from the Willing to Work report include:

  • Establishing a Minister for Longevity;
  • Developing national action plans to address employment discrimination and lift the labour force participation of older people and people with disability;
  • Expanding the role of the Workplace Gender Equality Agency to become the Workplace Gender Equality and Diversity Agency;
  • Introducing national education campaigns to dispel myths and stereotypes about older people and people with disability
  • Adopting targets for employment and retention of older people and people with disability in the public service.

The Willing to Work report also recommends improvements to existing laws and policies and presents a suite of strategies for businesses and employers to improve employment of people with disability and older people. The Australian Human Rights Commission hopes to see a speedy adoption and implementation of these recommendations, so that all Australians who are willing and able to work can do so.

Please click on the link to the AHRC's page to access the report

Kind Regards

Patrick McGee ADJC Coordinator 0448 610 105

Western Australian Review of the Criminal Law (Mentally Impaired Accused) Act 1996

Dear ADJC Supporters

Please find attached the Western Australian Review of the Criminal Law (Mentally Impaired Accused) Act 1996 April 2016.

I have also included the link to the media release from the WA Association for Mental Health and the WA Developmental Disability Council

The ADJC advocates for Commonwealth leadership and a national framework that enshrines how people who are mentally impaired and unfit o plead are treated when they are charged with committing a criminal offence

Kind Regards

Patrick McGee ADJC Coordinator 0448 610 105

Interrogative Suggestibility in People with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD): Neurocognitive and Behavioral Challenges

This article is from Volume 1, Issue 4 of Forensic Scholars Today, a quarterly publication featuring topics from the world of forensic mental health. Abstract

Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) is the result of prenatal alcohol exposure. FASD is characterized by deficits in adaptive functioning, social skills, learning capacities, emotion regulation, memory, attention, and communication abilities. As a result of these deficits, individuals with FASD may be prone to interrogative suggestibility. This is consistent with Gudjonsson and Clark’s (1986) model, which proposed that interrogative suggestibility is more likely to occur in individuals who experience: (a) a greater sense of uncertainty about the subject matter, (b) stronger interpersonal trust with the interrogator, and (c) an increase in one’s expectations that he or she should know the “correct” answer to the questions being asked. Failing to account for the unique needs of individuals with FASD in the criminal justice system may result in miscarriages of justice.


Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) presents a unique challenge to criminal justice and legal professionals, particularly in regards to interrogative suggestibility (Brown et al., 2011; McLachlan et al., 2014). Interrogative suggestibility is defined as “the extent to which, within a closed social interaction, people come to accept messages communicated during formal questioning as a result of which their subsequent behavioural response is affected” (Gudjonsson & Clark, 1986, p. 84). The risk for interrogative suggestibility is pronounced in FASD, which is precipitated by prenatal exposure to alcohol and characterized by lifelong adaptive, behavioral, cognitive, neurological, and physical deficits. Gudjonsson and Clark (1986) proposed a model that stipulates the likelihood of suggestibility increases as a function of three interacting elements. Specifically, suggestibility increases as the person experiences: (a) a greater sense of uncertainty about the subject matter, (b) stronger interpersonal trust with the interrogator, and (c) an increase in one’s expectations that he or she should know the “correct” answer to the questions being asked (Brown et al., 2011; Gudjonsson, 1984; Gudjonsson & Clark, 1986; Pollard et al., 2004). This article explores how several of the typical cognitive and functioning deficits in the clinical presentation of FASD may impact Gudjonsson and Clark’s (1986) model.

•Adaptive and Executive Functioning: Deficiencies in adaptive and executive functioning are primary deficits associated with FASD (Edwards & Greenspan, 2010; Fast & Conry, 2009; Green et al., 2009; Rasmussen, 2005). Prenatal exposure to alcohol almost universally affects frontal lobe development, which is largely responsible for higher order thinking and decision-making ability (Brown et al., 2011; Wyper & Pei, 2015). This can result in deficits of cognitive flexibility, planning, strategy use, verbal reasoning, and working memory (Page, 2003; Wyper & Pei, 2015). Social judgment and problem solving are both typically compromised, particularly in individuals with FASD who have lower adaptive functioning (Edwards & Greenspan, 2010; Greenspan & Driscoll, 2015). Although the average IQ of individuals with FASD is in the 80s, the universal functional adaptive IQ is in the 60s to 70s (Greenspan & Driscoll, 2015), which is roughly equivalent to the functioning level of a 10-year-old child (Page, 2003). Nonetheless, these deficits in IQ and functional adaptive IQ may be masked by the ability to use expressive language (Mela, 2015). In fact, people with FASD can have verbal skills comparatively well beyond their adaptive functioning and comprehension abilities (Edwards & Greenspan, 2010; Mela, 2015; Hand et al., 2015). These advanced verbal skills are likely to confound the ability of professionals to comprehend the seriousness of the disability (Lebel, Rasmussen, Wyper, Andrew, & Beaulieu, 2010; Mela, & Luther, 2013; Page, 2001).

The difficulty of people with FASD to use higher-order executive skills can result in an increased probability of succumbing specific aspects of Gudjonsson and Clark’s (1986) model (MacSween, 2007). First, individuals with FASD are likely to have a high level of uncertainty regarding the correct answer during interrogation. This uncertainty would only be exacerbated by “hypothetical” and “leading” questions, which require high levels of abstract skills to process (Greenspan & Driscoll, 2015). Second, the social judgment deficits of FASD could increase the likelihood of trusting the interrogator as well as the perception of being expected to know the correct answer to the questions being asked. The combination of these issues increases the chance of comprehensive and unequivocal agreement with an interrogator and, as a result, suggestibility (Burd et al., 2010; Conry & Fast, 2011; Fast & Conry, 2009; Fast & Conry, 2004). •Social Skills Deficits: As a general rule, most people with FASD have impaired social skills (e.g., social insight and judgment). Greenspan and Driscoll stipulate that the neurocognitive limitations of FASD contribute to social neediness in two ways: (a) a small number of non-deviant friends and personality adaptations and (b) possessing a tendency to conform to others’ needs and requests, both of which have influence within the legal system (Brown et al., 2011). Beyond these skill deficits, people with FASD also have difficulties discerning social subtleties and nonverbal communication (Edwards & Greenspan, 2010; Brown et al., 2011; Mariasine et al., 2014; Greenspan & Driscoll, 2015).

Interrogators often rely on deception to “successfully” elicit a confession (Greenspan & Driscoll, 2015). This can include attempting to solicit an inappropriate level of trust from the person by appearing overly friendly. Individuals with FASD will likely demonstrate a high level of trust in the interrogator due to their misperceptions of social cues, desires for social acceptance, and inabilities to accurately perceive the intents of the interrogator. Further, individuals with FASD are likely to try and answer the interrogator’s questions in a manner that would “please” the interrogator out of a desire for social acceptance (Brown, Wartnik, Connor, & Adler, 2010; Mariasine et al., 2014; Roach & Bailey, 2009; Thiel et al., 2011).

•Learning Problems: People with FASD generally have an inconsistent pattern of cognitive organization and information processing performance that can be overwhelmed during intake, organization, retrieval, and expression of specific information (Brown et al., 2011). Information overload may result in individuals with FASD withdrawing and indiscriminately taking direction from others in high stress situations, including interrogations. In addition to ineffective information processing skills, FASD typically includes difficulty generalizing information learned in the past to current tasks and situations. Not only is there difficulty in organizing experiences, but there is difficulty in applying previous knowledge to present situations (Conry & Fast, 2011; Fast & Conry, 2009; Brown et al., 2011).

Interrogations are intense situations that require a person to effectively process information. Because of the information processing of FASD, there is a high likelihood individuals with FASD will experience a strong sense of uncertainty about the accuracy of their responses during interrogations (Brown et al., 2011; Gudjonsson & Henry, 2003). This can be exacerbated by the intensity of the situation, which may activate a flight or fight response or further impair an already compromised information processing ability (Brown et al., 2011; Greenspan & Driscoll, 2015). As such, individuals with FASD may demonstrate increased trust in an interrogator due to an inability to comprehend the potential consequences of any disclosures.

•Difficulty With Emotion Regulation: Emotion regulation is the capacity to implement a variety of strategies to manage emotions across a variety of different situations. Because many individuals with FASD have difficultly regulating their emotions, there is an increased likelihood of experiencing anxiety in high-stress situations such as interrogations. Further, individuals with FASD are less likely to mitigate anxiety with efficient coping skills (Streissguth et al., 1998; Siklos, 2008). High levels of anxiety combined with low emotional regulation capacity can result in the ineffective use of coping strategies. In the instance of an interrogation, these strategies may include disclosing false admissions of guilt in an attempt to lessen the discomfort of an interrogation. Such confessions may be exacerbated by a misplacement of trust in the interrogator. •Poor Memory: Individuals with FASD often have hippocampus damage and impaired frontal lobe functioning, which can cause deficiencies in free recall, sensory processing (e.g., auditory, visual, and spatial), and memory (e.g., sequential and working; Kodituwakku, 2009; Mattson, Crocker, & Nguyen, 2011; Page, 2003; Rasmussen, 2005). Interestingly, procedural/implicit memory, or the ability to remember how to perform daily tasks or processes, remains relatively intact in these individuals. This discrepancy implies much of the memory impairment in individuals with FASD is a result of erroneous encoding processes rather than retrieval impairments (Brown et al., 2011).

Memory, particularly verbal memory, has been shown to affect suggestibility on several levels (Gudjonsson & Henry, 2003; Howard & Chaiwutikornwanich, 2006; Willner, 2008; Ridley, 2013; Ridley & Gudjonsson, 2013). If there is an error in encoding memories, there may be a decrease in the individual’s level of certainty about the line of questioning. This phenomenon may be related to memory distrust syndrome (MDS), which Gudjonsson (2003) describes as a strong distrust of one’s own recollection of events. Subsequently, this leaves an individual as more susceptible to the influence of external cues and suggestions that may lead to false confession or statements. Complicating matters, individuals with FASD may falsely recollect acts of benevolence by the interrogator, which could potentially lead to a misplaced and inappropriate level of trust in the interrogator. These factors may compound the likelihood of suggestibility in individuals with FASD (Gudjonsson & Henry, 2003).

•Attention Problems: Attention deficits are a core feature of FASD (Page, 2003; Fast & Conry, 2009; Brown et al., 2011). These deficits include difficulty shifting attention in a flexible manner or maintaining attention on the activity at hand (Fagerlund et al., 2012; Glass, L., Graham, Deweese, Jones, Riley, & Mattson, 2014). The trouble with failing to maintain attention on an event is the possibility of encoding an incomplete memory (Howard & Chaiwutikornwanich, 2006). As previously discussed, incomplete memories can lead to a strong sense of uncertainty, which can result in an increased likelihood of suggestibility during interrogation. Individuals with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), which commonly co-occurs with FASD, may be prone to a disproportionate number of uncertain responses (Gudjonsson, Young & Bramham, 2007). Further, deficits in attention can lead to perseveration or the repetition of words or gestures, even when such repetition is no longer appropriate. This may subsequently increase acquiescent responses during interrogation (Brown et al., 2011) due to an increase in the expectation that the answer should be known.

•Communication Difficulties: Superficial verbal fluency is commonly mentioned as a characteristic of FASD (Brown et al., 2011). This is the appearance of carrying on a meaningful conversation when, in fact, there is little mutual understanding taking place (Page, 2001; Page, 2003). Interrogations occur at a primarily verbal level that infrequently checks for comprehension of questions and process beyond verbal statements. Parroting speech patterns and general talkativeness couple with this covert miscommunication to increase the inherent difficulty in understanding communication in individuals with FASD. Despite the apparent verbal competency, people with FASD may exhibit impairments in both receptive and expressive language skills, which results in poor language comprehension (Brown et al., 2011; Manji, Pei, Loomes, & Rasmussen, 2010; Wyper & Pei, 2015). People with FASD may effectively report comprehension that, in actuality, may not exist.

Developing a clear understanding of what is being asked and formulating a response are daunting and potentially impossible tasks for someone with FASD, especially in stressful circumstances (Greenspan & Driscoll, 2015). Difficulties with communication can create an incomplete or inadequate understanding of the questions being asked during interrogations (Fast & Conry, 2009). This strong underlying sense of uncertainty can increase suggestibility. Further, the superficial verbal fluency may increase the interrogator’s expectations in such a way that the individual feels like he or she should know the answers during interrogations. Finally, traditional questions could be interpreted as accusations and expectations on behalf of the interrogator.

Conclusions and Future Directions

Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) describes a constellation of impairments that, when taken individually, would be sufficient to compound any probability of increased interrogative suggestibility. When FASD is present, there is a resulting complexity that must be considered when evaluating suggestibility. Gudjonsson and Clark’s (1986) model of suggestibility offers an individualized framework that clinicians can use to begin examining one’s vulnerability to suggestibility. Failing to account for the unique needs of individuals with FASD in the criminal justice system may result in injustice not only to the individual but also to the criminal justice system and society as a whole. The gaps in knowledge of suggestibility and FASD leave ample opportunities for additional research. Topics worth exploring include gullibility and naiveté, acquiescence, social desirability, and the connection between adverse life experiences and suggestibility levels. When examining the topic of suggestibility, researchers must consider confabulation and the role it plays in gaining accurate information during interrogations. On a related note, confabulation, or the replacement of gaps in one’s memory with imaginary experiences that are believed to be true, likely operates in a similar manner as suggestibility. Biographies

Erin J. Watts, MSW, LICSW, is a clinical social worker providing forensic mental health services with the Minnesota Department of Human Services. In addition to clinical support, she provides community education and clinical supervision to social workers and other mental health professionals.

Jerrod Brown, M.A., M.S., M.S., M.S., is the Treatment Director for Pathways Counseling Center, Inc. Pathways provides programs and services benefiting individuals impacted by mental illness and addictions. Jerrod is also the founder and CEO of the American Institute for the Advancement of Forensic Studies (AIAFS), lead developer and program director of an online graduate degree program in Forensic Mental Health from Concordia University (St. Paul, Minnesota), and the Editor-in-Chief of Forensic Scholars Today (FST). Jerrod is currently in the dissertation phase of his doctorate degree program in psychology.

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD): Safety Considerations for Caregivers and Professionals

This article is from Volume 1, Issue 4 of Forensic Scholars Today, a quarterly publication featuring topics from the world of forensic mental health. Click to view or save a PDF of this article.

[image: Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) Safety Considerations for Caregivers and Professionals] Abstract

Acquired as a result of prenatal alcohol exposure, fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) is a set of disorders characterized by physical, cognitive, learning, and behavioral impairments. One of the most challenging aspects of this condition is that people with FASD often struggle to make safe and appropriate choices. This article highlights safety factors that can be implemented by both caregivers and professionals. Consideration of these factors may reduce the likelihood that some people with FASD will come into contact with the criminal justice system. Introduction

Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) is a set of disorders characterized by physical, cognitive, learning, and behavioral impairments. Deficits and symptoms associated with FASD are a direct result of prenatal exposure to alcohol. The disorders under the umbrella term FASD are: fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS), partial fetal alcohol syndrome (pFAS), alcohol-related neurodevelopmental disorder (ARND), alcohol-related birth defects (ARBD), and most recently, neurodevelopmental disorder associated with prenatal alcohol exposure (ND-PAE) found in the DSM-5 under the section titled Conditions for Further Study. The typical facial features commonly misunderstood as a hallmark feature of FASD only fully present in FAS and partially present in pFAS. As such, the sentinel facial features are only present in a small portion of individuals with FASD. This likely contributes to missed diagnosis and misdiagnosis. Because developmental deficits are common in FASD, parents and professionals, as a general rule, should take an individual’s chronological age and halve it to identify his or her developmental age, which is the age at which he or she typically operates in the world. The presence and severity of specific symptoms vary as a function of several factors including timing of exposure, diet and nutrition of the mother, the immune system of the fetus, the amount of alcohol consumed, and the DNA and epigenetic variables of both the mother and the fetus.

There are many challenging aspects of this condition. One in particular is executive function, which supports higher-level problem solving and decision making. Individuals with FASD can make decisions and choices that put themselves and others at risk of harm. In light of these concerns, the information presented in this article is based on anecdotal experience and highlights safety concerns that must be taken into account when supporting people with FASD. Substance Abuse

There is some evidence that people with FASD are more likely to misuse alcohol and other substances more frequently than those without FASD. With poor impulse control and difficulty with abstract thinking, it is common for individuals with FASD to abuse alcohol and drugs. Binge drinking in particular can be a challenge. Individuals with FASD often do not understand abstract concepts, for example, “How much alcohol is too much?” and “Is it appropriate and safe for me to be drinking alcohol in this situation?” Further, executive function deficits can contribute to being easily influenced by peers. Unprotected Sex

Unplanned pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are common issues among some individuals with FASD. Impulsivity and deficiencies in abstract thinking (cause and effect) make individuals with FASD prone to unprotected sexual encounters. The STIs are difficult enough to cope with. In some instances, unplanned pregnancies may occur and lead to people with FASD becoming a parent before being ready and equipped to do so. As a result, this can sometimes result in losing custody of their children. This may be due to the unique behavioral challenges of FASD that make parenting difficult combined with developmental deficits that cause people with FASD to function at half their chronological age or perhaps even younger, especially when under stress. Pornography

Because of poor impulse control and easy access to the Internet in schools and elsewhere, children with FASD often begin to explore sex and pornography at a young age. Monitored Internet use is imperative in cases where a person struggles with pornography use. Caregivers also should understand that this is often an impulse and sensory issue for those with FASD, not a moral and ethical issue. Social Media Danger

Many people with FASD are vulnerable to being taken advantage of via social media. Individuals with FASD are likely to take most things at face value and can be taken advantage of in this way. For people with FASD, social deficits may impede their ability to evaluate the intentions of others even if they are obvious to others. Unsafe Peer Relationships

As a result of challenging behaviors, many individuals with FASD struggle to maintain healthy peer relationships. They tend to attract friends who are also troubled, often exacerbating their FASD-related problems. Individuals with FASD are often so desperate for acceptance that they will do almost anything “friends” request. All attention, be it positive or negative, is taken as acceptance. Stealing

The deficits in executive function and abstract thinking associated with FASD can, for many reasons, result in an increased risk to engage in theft. When individuals with FASD see an item they want, there are several factors that may cause them to take that item without understanding the consequences. For example, individuals with FASD may perseverate on the item (be unable to disconnect), individuals may misremember the situation (they may believe they have paid for it or may rationalize paying in some other way), or they may not see what they are doing as stealing but rather as taking something that belongs to them. They may, in fact, not see the item as property belonging to anyone but rather to be stewarded. Such thefts have been observed as early as age 2 and can persist into and throughout adulthood. Explosiveness

The filters in the brain responsible for frustration tolerance are affected when the individual has been exposed to alcohol prenatally. As a result, many individuals with FASD can be verbally and physically explosive. Incidents of verbal or physical aggression may occur at school or work as well as in the home and community. The tendency toward explosiveness can lead to serious issues of safety for themselves and others in one, some, or all settings.

The physical, cognitive, learning, and behavioral impairments of FASD can result in severe consequences. Not only do individuals with FASD constantly struggle to get along with their family and friends, but they also are easily influenced by the media and peers and often find themselves in trouble with the law. In fact, a very high percentage of individuals with FASD have a history of trouble with the law, and many will have a history of confinement in jail, prison, a residential treatment facility, or a psychiatric hospital, especially when appropriate supports and services are

not in place.


Barb Clark attended the University of Minnesota and graduated with a bachelor’s in Youth Studies, Sociology and English. She has spent over 25 years working with at-risk youth in public schools and the non-profit sector. Barb and her husband are the parents of four adopted children; the oldest is diagnosed with a fetal alcohol spectrum disorder. Barb now works as a consultant who works with schools, agencies, and families to improve the education and lives of young people who are living with an FASD. She provides training, consultation, and support to professionals and families who are living with individuals with a variety of disabilities including FASD and autism spectrum disorders (ASD).

Jerrod Brown, M.A., M.S., M.S., M.S., is the Treatment Director for Pathways Counseling Center, Inc. Pathways provides programs and services benefiting individuals impacted by mental illness and addictions. Jerrod is also the founder and CEO of the American Institute for the Advancement of Forensic Studies (AIAFS), lead developer and program director of an online graduate degree program in Forensic Mental Health from Concordia University (St. Paul, Minnesota), and the Editor-in-Chief of Forensic Scholars Today (FST). Jerrod is currently in the dissertation phase of his doctorate degree program in psychology.

Nikki Freeman, M.A., LPCC, is a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor and a Certified Facilitator of the FASCETS Neurobehavioral Model. She has clinical experience in many settings: school-based mental health, in-home therapy, therapeutic foster care, behavioral health coaching, and case management. She specializes in using the Neurobehavioral Approach with people who have FASD and their caregivers at Hardy & Stephens Counseling Associates in Elk River, Minnesota. Nikki has a master’s degree in Counseling Psychology and a graduate certificate in Child and Adolescent Mental Health from Bethel University in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Anne Russell is an expert on fetal alcohol spectrum disorder and founded the Russell Family Fetal Alcohol Disorders Association, a nonprofit in Queensland, Australia. Anne is the mother of two adult children with FASD. For the past 15 years, she has worked to raise awareness about the condition and to help families living with FASD. She published her first book, Alcohol and Pregnancy: A Mother’s Responsible Disturbance, in 2005 when there was little knowledge about FASD in Australia. She has presented at conferences and workshops in Australia, New Zealand, the United States, and Canada. She currently works for My Pathway, which delivers employment services to remote Indigenous communities across the top of Australia. At My Pathway, she developed an FASD training module for staff, job seekers, and service providers. This became the first publicly available FASD training module in Australia. She is a member of the Parent Advisory Group and the Collaboration for Alcohol Related Developmental Disorders at the University of Queensland. Anne was also a senior consultant with the FASD Consortium, a group of health professionals, researchers, and community members that developed Australian diagnostic guidelines for FASD.


Dear ADJC Supporters

Aviva Zeigler is a documentary filmmaker and these stories will be worth watching

Kind Regards

Patrick McGee ADJC Coordinator 0448 610 105 ---------- Forwarded message ---------- From: Aviva Ziegler Date: Sun, May 1, 2016 at 12:00 PM Subject: REPEAT OF CREATIVE MINDS - 6 PART TELEVISON SERIES To: Susie Carleton

*FYI CREATIVE MINDS x 6 PART SERIES that nobody saw on “STUDIO” a couple of years ago is being played live-to-air SBS on Thursdays at 2 pm. * For those who are home during the day or know how to record!!

*BILL HENSON was on last Thursday 28th April. All are interviewed by Robin Hughes. Commissioned by Margaret Murphy.*

They are very simple, engaging, *interview based **stories - I made Elena Katz Chernin. Andrew Arestides edited Stephen Page.*

No idea what order they are being screened but t*he six artists are: *

Robyn Archer Geoffrey Rush Stephen Page Elena Katz-Chernin Bill Henson Kate Grenville

From: Margaret Murphy Date: Tuesday, 8 March 2016 2:50 pm To: Robin Hughes, Tris Miall <>, Aviva Ziegler Cc: Janet Bell Subject: Creative Minds

Hi All,

Letting you know that SBS will be running the complete series of Creative Minds on their main Free to air channel in May.j

Do pass on to anyone else who would be interested.

Best wishes


Margaret MurphyMobile: + 61 (0)411 489 845 email:

Indigenous Justice Clearinghouse - Call for Papers on Indigenous Justice Issues

It’s that time again! The Clearinghouse is calling for authors for its Indigenous justice publication program.

The Indigenous Justice Clearinghouse (IJC) develops and publishes briefs which provide an overview and analysis of key Indigenous justice issues in Australia and New Zealand.

In April 2016, the IJC is calling for expressions of interest from experienced researchers who can complete a brief in one of the following areas:

  • *Mental health and cognitive disability and the criminal justice system*
  • Justice Reinvestment OR
  • The intergenerational effects of incarceration.

Authors are paid *$5,000 *for completion of an IJC publication.

IJC publications are 3,000-5,000 words long, and are written in an accessible format for policy makers and those working in the Indigenous justice field. IJC briefs include examples of programs and projects that are working to reduce Indigenous incarceration and keep communities safe.

Interested authors are encouraged to download the Terms of Reference from the IJC website submit an Expression of Interest by 5pm Friday 13 May 2016.

Indigenous researchers are warmly invited to apply.

For more information email or call 02 8346 1743.

Copies of previous IJC publications can be downloaded from the Clearinghouse website .

Forwar to a friend

The Indigenous Justice Clearinghouse is a project of the Law, Crime and Community Safety Council and the Australian Institute of Criminology

The IJC is hosted by the NSW Department of Justice Level 3, 20 Lee Street, Sydney NSW 2000

Mailing address: GPO Box 31, Sydney NSW 2001


Phone: +61 2 8346 1743


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Nayuka Gorrie: I Want A Treaty

NAYUKA GORRIE, AUTHOR: My name is Nayuka. I'm a Gunai/Kurnai, Gunditjmara, Wiradjuri and Yorta Yorta woman.

What do Andrew Bolt, Cory Bernardi and I have in common? We all don't support constitutional recognition.

My reasons, however, are very different from theirs. I really believed in it, probably for the same reasons you might. Racism sucks and shouldn't be in the Constitution. Certain clauses stink and need to go. And surely it doesn't hurt to mention some truth in this old document.

Right now, I just want to yell: "F**k your recognition." I know you think it's the right thing to do, but I don't want it and we don't need it.

I want a treaty.

A treaty forces you to see me as an equal with a separate identity, history and culture that has existed for tens of thousands of years. Recognition forces me to ask to be seen by you in a colonial system that I don't want to legitimise.

F**k that.

Imagine for a moment: you're living in this sick share house. You have rules, you have food and you all pay rent on time. Then suddenly, some random starts rocking up and uses your s**t and your utilities. After 228 years you're like, "Hey, bro, can we talk about that time you moved in and didn't ask?"

DUPLICATE OF NAYUKA GORRIE (as 'housemate'): Hey, I made this joint better. You should thank me for squatting.

NAYUKA GORRIE: They've made themselves so comfortable that your only real choice is to ask them to sign onto the lease. "We were here first," you say. "Pay the bond. You keep putting holes in our pristine walls."

But instead, this housemate says they will recognise you and they will ask all their friends which way would be the best way to do it. All you want is this housemate on the lease.

This is what the Government have done: pulling together a crew to explore different constitutional recognition models, largely made up of old white men. Many of the consultation panels held by these experts were invitation only, excluding voices of the broader black community.

(Footage of Yothu Yindi performing 'Treaty')

MANDAWUY YUNUPINGU (sings): Treaty, yeah / Treaty now...

NAYUKA GORRIE: Treaties are legal mechanisms between two parties that recognise one another's sovereignty. Like any negotiation, some people get stuff and some people lose stuff.

So far, this whole invasion meant us losing stuff, getting scraps and being told to be thankful. The thing we want recognised is our sovereignty.

We fought. We were massacred. We were subject to genocidal policies. But not once did we give up our sovereignty. Time may have gone on, but the elephant in the share-house remains and continues to grow.

Most colonised nations have treaties. In fact, Australia is the only Commonwealth country without one. They aren't perfect, but they are tangible and are a good bloody start.

Another concern I have is that constitutional recognition is entirely symbolic. Symbolism does matter, but it needs to be coupled with something real and tangible.

Take, for example, the 2008 apology.

KEVIN RUDD, PRIME MINISTER 2007-2010, 2013 (13 Feb. 2008): As Prime Minister of Australia, I am sorry.

NAYUKA GORRIE: Kevin Rudd's words don't mean much to me when we have more black kids than ever being taken from their homes.

This is a fluff piece for white people to feel good about themselves without any implications for the real world, which is why it's appealing.

It is the legal equivalent of sharing that dumb Kony video: nice, misguided and does f**k-all.

JASON RUSSELL, INVISIBLE CHILDREN (Kony 2012 campaign video): For 26 years, Kony has been kidnapping children into his rebel group, the LRA.

NAYUKA GORRIE: I'm just one of over 500,000 black people in Australia. There are a few blackfellas who want recognition and a few that don't - and I don't pretend to represent anyone but myself.

But together, we make up less than three per cent of the Australian population. Even if every single black Australian voted against constitutional recognition, we still wouldn't have the numbers to outvote the rest of the country, who are being told: "Vote 'yes'."

Let's try another metaphor. Say you're in an auditorium with a bunch of other people: 97 of them, to be exact. There are three spare seats up the front that you and your two friends want, but every single person has to vote to decide if you get them.

"Can't we just take the three up the front?," you ask. "Hey, the front is rad but you can't just decide where you sit," the reply comes. "We all get a say, you fascist."

This is where we really are.

Black Australia has been in the room the entire time. We were there first, but where we get to sit is still being decided by people who aren't us.

Democracy is tops, but I can't see any point in any political action that disempowers people in the process without any meaningful outcomes. What would be even more tops - and I'm sure at least a couple of you would be thinking this - is to maybe just ask us what we want to do and where we want to sit.

Right now, black people across the country are mobilising the push for a treaty. And right now, I ask that you back them.

Intersecting Indigeneity, Colonisation and Disability

Intersecting Indigeneity, Colonisation and Disability

Call for Papers

Disability and the Global

Intersecting Indigeneity, Colonisation and Disability Guest Editors: Karen Soldatic (The Critical Institute) and John Gilroy (University of Sydney)

There is growing global recognition of the role of disability in shaping the lives of Indigenous peoples and the significance of having an Indigenous cultural identity in shaping the lived experience of disabled people from Indigenous backgrounds. Recently, we have been witnessing a burgeoning public policy environment, transnationally and at the nation scale, that seeks to combine the intersecting features of Indigenous cultural identity with the lived experience of being disabled. For example, the 14th UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (2015) featured heavily the impact of disability on the lives of Indigenous peoples including their ongoing ability to engage and perform customary practices, cultures and traditions. And the recent appointment of Aunty Gayle Rankine to the United Nations’ newly established international network of Indigenous peoples with disability is a testament to the growing international focus on the intersection of indigeneity and colonisation on the lived experience of disability.

This special issue seeks to open a space for critical debates and reflections on the issues and challenges of bringing together Indigeneity and disability as an intersecting identity. The overall aim is to question and challenge existing approaches to modern understandings of disability, how it is regulated, governed and experienced once the cultural identity of being Indigenous is positioned at the fore.

We are keen to bring together researchers, practitioners and activists, in particular those who are working at the edges of disability yet at the centre of Indigenous practice. We hope to engage theoretical and empirical work situated within local knowledges, spaces and places. We encourage contributions exploring a range of themes including (not exclusively):

  • Experiences in engaging in/with Indigenous communities in relation to disability
  • Experiences of discussing and locating disability within an Indigenous standpoint
  • Ethical concerns and practices: modernity, medical science and Indigenous dispossession
  • Understanding, defining and conceptualising disability for research, policy and statistical purposes
  • The limitations of intersectional approaches for Indigenous/Disability praxis
  • Indigenous methodologies, standpoint and ethics in relation to disability policy and research
  • The white-settler enterprise and the Indigenous disability experience
  • Relationship between Indigenous Poverty, Dispossession, Alienation and Disability
  • Access to services and impact on Indigenous disabled people, including social, physical, emotional, psychological and/or spiritual well-being
  • Making research ‘productive’: from knowledge generation to local transformative action and practice

Those wishing to submit an article, please email an ABSTRACT to Karen Soldatic ( and John Gilroy ( Please insert ‘Submission for Intersecting Indigeneity and Disability Special Issue’ in the subject line.

Manuscripts will be sent anonymously for double peer review, and comments and recommendations relayed to authors through the editors.

Deadline for ABSTRACT submission: *1st SEPTEMBER 2016. *

FULL PAPERS due by:* 1 APRIL 2017 for first round reviews.*

Special journal edition on Indigeniety and disability

Dear All,

Dr John Gilroy from the University of Sydney has asked that I circulate this request for abstracts for a special edition of a journal of Indigenous people with a disability

Please click on the link below to access further information or submit an abstract.

Patrick McGee

Hi Patrick

Can you please circulate this? It is a global special edition of a journal on Indigenous people with disability:

Dr JOHN GILROY (PhD) | ARC Indigenous Research Fellow (DAATSIA) Faculty of Health Sciences THE UNIVERSITY OF SYDNEY Room T315 75 East Street | Lidcombe | NSW | 2141 PO Box 170 Lidcombe NSW 1825

T +61 2 9351-9408| M +61427238776 E | W

Fwd: Commonwealth action on on the health of people with intellectual disability

This information comes from Mr Jim Simpson from NSW Council for Intellectual Disability

Patrick McGee ADJC Coordinator 0448 610 105


Dear all,

We had constructive meetings last week with Health Minister Sussan Ley, Shadow Mental Health Minister Katy Gallagher and Greens disability spokesperson Rachel Siewert. Our below email to Minister Ley reports on progress with her and the election commitments we are now seeking from the political parties.

Thanks to the many of you who have supported our advocacy here. Please also consider including the commitments we seek below in any pre election lobbying you are doing.


Jim Simpson

Senior Advocate

NSW Council for Intellectual Disability

Follow us on twitter and facebook

*T: *



From: Jim Simpson [] Sent: Tuesday, 26 April 2016 5:21 PM To: '' Subject: Election commitment on the health of people with intellectual disability

Dear Minister,

Thank-you for meeting with us last week. We valued the discussion and your statements:

· That you expect the Health Care Homes initiative to assist people with intellectual disability. James McAdam has now linked us with Janet Quigley in the Department.

· That you are happy to press Primary Health Networks to be inclusive of the needs of people with ID. We applaud that your office has already ensured that the Department will provide guidelines to PHNs on intellectual disability mental health and look forward to being consulted on these. We noted to you that a circular to PHNs on the health of people with ID could be another valuable way to inform them on this issue.

We appreciate your receptiveness to act in these ways but also emphasise that a clear overall commitment is needed if we are to avoid the recurring pattern of health reforms not including people with ID.

We confirm that we seek an election commitment to the 400,000 Australians with intellectual disability. With their immediate families, this is 1.5 million voters.

Flowing from

· *the very poor health status experienced by people with ID, *

· *the common exclusion of this group from health initiatives, and *

· *our recent need to conduct a concerted campaign to get this group recognised in the Government’s current mental health reforms, *

we seek the following commitments from each political party.

These commitments would not require any budget enhancement. They are about equitable inclusion of people with ID in major health initiatives

CID calls for these commitments from the Government:

1. Core commitment - All major Commonwealth physical and mental health initiatives will include specific consideration of what needs to happen to make them work for people with intellectual disability. This includes current Commonwealth initiatives on mental health and chronic illness.

2. Current Commonwealth mental health initiatives - we seek:

· An accountable requirement that Primary Health Networks include specific attention to people with ID in their rollout of reform.

· Collection of data on the inclusion of people with ID in the reforms.

· Provision of guidelines to PHNs and the services they commission about how to meet the mental health needs of people with ID.

· ID peak advocacy and health professional groups being regularly consulted through the implementation process of the reforms.

3. The physical health of people with ID must also be prioritised with similar requirements and guidelines provided to PHNs in relation to physical health.

4. Post election, ongoing dialogue with you about action on issues including MyHealth records, collaboration between health services & the NDIA, & expansion of specialised ID health services.

The problem

Compared with the general population and despite high medical consultation rates, people with ID have:

  • 2.5 times the number of health problems including 30% having mental disorders.
  • Low rates of accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment – only 29% in a landmark study.
  • Low rates of management of risk factors for chronic health conditions.
  • Early death – Dying at least 5-20 years early.
  • Double the rate of preventable deaths.
  • Twice the rate of emergency department presentations.
  • Twice the rate of hospital admissions with each admission costing twice as much.

See attached research summaries and Bittles 2002.

*Peter has a mild intellectual disability and lives independently with drop in support. He was referred to the local mental health service by his outreach worker after he stopped attending work and was found in a self-neglected state, refusing to get out of bed. The diagnosis given by the mental health service was ‘behavioural’. *

Peter was deeply depressed.

*When Danielle was 37, she complained of pain in her pelvis and said that she could not walk. The doctor in casualty said she was just playing up as part of her disability. When she did not improve, her father took her to her GP and then back to hospital and insisted on an x-ray. She had two fractures in her pelvis. After time in hospital, Danielle had two months of bed rest and needed full care from her elderly father. *

*Much later, Danielle saw a doctor experienced in intellectual disability. The doctor knew that Danielle’s anti-epileptic medication increased her risk of osteoporosis. A bone density scan confirmed that she had severe osteoporosis which caused the fractures. Danielle now receives regular drug infusions to treat the osteoporosis.*

Key milestones towards addressing the problem

  • Annual health assessment items in Medicare 2006
  • NSW ID Health Roundtable 2007 – followed by NSW Health Framework, 3 pilot ID health teams to back up mainstream services, Chair in ID Mental Health at UNSW and specific provision in NSW Mental Health Plan.
  • CID/AADDM position statement 2009 signed by 360 leaders in health, disability and the community (attached) - Calls for *specific *inclusion of people with ID in health initiatives.
  • National Health and Hospitals Reform Commission 2009 – People with ID “suffer stark health inequalities”.
  • National Disability Strategy COAG 2010 – 2020 - Calls for specific inclusion of people with disability in health initiatives.
  • Our Medicare Locals fact sheets 2012 (example attached) – Subsequent audit on action showed very low inclusion of people with ID in Medicare Local governance and consultation, needs assessment and programs.
  • National ID Mental Health Roundtable 2013 – Communique (attached) calls for specific inclusion of people with ID in mental health initiatives.

*A key theme through these milestones is the need for specific inclusion of people with ID in health initiatives*. Without specific inclusion, the history of exclusion and stark health inequalities will continue.

Although we are a NSW based organisation, for many years, we have been taking the lead on national health advocacy for and with people with ID. We do this in collaboration with a wide range of ID advocacy, health and service provider groups from around Australia.

Minister, you have committed to some useful steps in response to our advocacy on mental health and chronic care. However, we need the above commitments so that in future we can go to health bureaucrats, PHNs and others on the basis of a clear Governmental commitment to equitable inclusion of people with ID in heath reforms.

Our ask above is deliberately budget neutral in view of the current financial climate. However, if you were open to specific funding commitments, we would of course welcome these. Two fairly modest but very valuable commitments would be:

· Funding for a clinical nurse consultant to act as a specialist ID resource in each of the 31 PHNs.

· Funding a national centre of excellence in the health of people with intellectual disability - $3m a year.

We seek the Government’s position on these issues as soon as possible so that we can report it to our constituency.

Could you please advise when we can expect to hear back from you?


Jim Simpson

Senior Advocate

NSW Council for Intellectual Disability

Follow us on twitter and facebook

*T: *



Unfitness to plead and indefinite detention of persons with cognitive impairments: addressing the legal barriers and creating appropriate alternative supports in the community

Unfitness to plead and indefinite detention of persons with cognitive impairments: addressing the legal barriers and creating appropriate alternative supports in the community.

Posted on November 17, 2015

‘Unfitness to stand trial’ rules in Australia have been the subject of human rights and law reform enquiries in recent years, following concerns that such rules may violate the rights of people with cognitive disability in the criminal justice system. ‘Unfitness to stand trial rules’ refer to procedures by which courts decide that a person cannot meaningfully participate in and understand criminal trial proceedings brought against them. Such rules are designed to prevent disadvantage by ensuring that people receive a fair trial. Yet unfitness to stand trial provisions have the potential to create a separate and lesser form of justice for people with cognitive disabilities.

At worst, people with cognitive disabilities found unfit to stand trial are subject to indefinite detention, including being detained for longer than if had they been convicted and sentenced in the first place.

The aim of this project is to develop practical and legal solutions to the problem of people with cognitive impairments, including Indigenous people with cognitive impairments, being found “unfit to plead” and subject to indefinite detention in Australia. A secondary aim is to better ensure that people with cognitive disabilities can meaningfully participate, on an equal basis with others, in criminal proceedings brought against them. This secondary aim responds to the issue of people who may not be able to understand and meaningfully participate in a trial, but who nevertheless proceed through typical trials due to the inappropriateness or inaccessibility of unfitness rules in their current form.

The project is funded as part of the Australian Government Department of Social Services, National Disability Research and Development Research Scheme.

Project Aims:

  • Analyse the social, legal and policy issues leading to unfitness to plead findings and indefinite detention in Australia, with a strong focus on the experiences of Indigenous people
  • Provide and evaluate supported decision-making for up to 60 individuals with cognitive impairments who have been charged with a crime and who may be subject to unfitness to plead processes
  • Recommend options for the reform of unfitness to plead law and policy

The expected outcomes are the:

  • Analysis of the differences and similarities in unfitness to plead laws and policy across the Australian states and territories
  • Development and evaluation of a practice model in supported decision-making in the criminal justice context that can be used in Australia and abroad
  • Creation of recommendations for law and policy reform in compliance with human rights standards.


Professor Bernadette McSherry (Foundation Director, Melbourne Social Equity Institute), Professor Kerry Arabena (Chair of Indigenous Health), Dr Anna Arstein-Kerslake (Melbourne Law School), Dr Piers Gooding (Melbourne Law School) and Professor Eileen Baldry (School of Social Sciences, University of New South Wales).

For enquiries, please contact the post-doctoral researcher for the project Dr. Piers Gooding. E: Ph: +61 3 8344 0910


New project to tackle the detention of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disabilities‘, Louis Andrews, Anna Arstein-Kerslake, Piers Gooding and Bernadette McSherry for Croakey, Wednesday 6 January 2016