The Justice Advocacy Service (JAS) supports young people and adults with cognitive impairment in contact with the NSW criminal justice system, including as victims, witnesses and suspects/defendants to exercise their rights and fully participate in the process.
People with cognitive impairment are vulnerable when in contact with the Criminal Justice System for several reasons. Importantly, vulnerability can arise first and foremost if the person’s cognitive impairment is not identified or recognised. This failure may exclude the person from accessing a range legal safeguards, processes and procedures which exist for the protection of their rights.
The Justice Advocacy Service provides a free service for people with cognitive impairment who have been involved in any type of criminal matter (including AVOs); as a victim, witness, suspect or defendant.
JAS attracts, recruits, trains, and guides an extensive group of volunteers across New South Wales to provide their clients with support at Court, Police Stations and at legal appointments. They will arrange for one of their trained volunteers to meet clients at the police station, court or legal appointment.
To be eligible a cognitive impairment includes (without limitation) any of the following: cognitive impairments arising from intellectual disability, borderline intellectual function, acquired brain injury, alcohol and drug related brain injury, autism spectrum disorder, foetal alcohol spectrum disorder or dementia.