Personal support to victims, witnesses and defendants who have an intellectual disability

To read on the Coffs Coast Advocate website:

Order in the court with help

THE Magistrate sits behind an imposing bench.

Lawyers talk in their own mysterious language. Officials in uniforms are everywhere. It’s daunting for anyone, but for a person with an intellectual disability, the process can be completely overwhelming and confusing.

The Criminal Justice Support Network (CJSN) is a service of the Intellectual Disabilities Rights Service, providing state-wide support to people with intellectual disabilities who are in contact with the criminal justice system 365 days from 9am to 10pm.

CJSN is able to provide personal support to victims, witnesses and defendants who have an intellectual disability in police stations, at court and during legal appointments.

The service has a “human rights” focus and the main role of support workers is to assist with communication and understanding of processes, improve access to legal advice and representation, as well as provide some information and referral. CJSN’s aim is to reduce the disadvantages people experience in the legal system due to their disability.

CJSN could not operate without their valued volunteer support workers. These volunteers are comprehensively trained in how the court and police system work and how to help a person with an intellectual disability understand what is happening and to exercise their rights.

CJSN also provides state-wide training for people with intellectual disabilities, police, court staff, lawyers, disability services and any other interested organisations and services.

For further information on the Criminal Justice Support Network contact 9318 0144 or visit


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