Justice, Equality, Addressing Violence and Abuse, and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

Research in Ireland and internationally shows that people with disabilities are more likely to experience crime. A number of Articles under the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) relate to Access to Justice, Equality and Addressing Violence and Abuse, including Articles 12, 13, 14 and 16. They set out important provisions on equal recognition of disabled persons before the law, equal legal protection, equal access to justice and freedom from violence, exploitation and abuse.

The NDA’s Annual Conference 2020 explored the theme of Access to Justice under the UNCRPD, and we considered Article 13 across the various stages of the justice process, from initial contact with An Garda Síochána to probation. Presentations looked at related policy and programme activities such as communication supports, training for justice professionals, rehabilitation, education, and life and employment in the community after prison.

Article 12 obliges States Parties to ensure equal recognition before the law. Ireland aims to realise this Article through the commencement of the Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Act 2015, which abolishes the wardship system, introduces a new framework of supports to empower a person to makes his or her own decisions, and protects and promotes a person’s will and preference. The NDA Annual Conference 2021 examined all aspects of the Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Act 2015 and featured a wide range of speakers who will be responsible for ensuring its proper implementation, as well as a number of speakers whose lives will be directly impacted by the legislation.

Article 14 relates to liberty and security, and Article 16 is concerned with freedom from exploitation, violence and abuse. Safeguarding is an important element of disability services and structures and legislation are evolving in Ireland to promote safeguarding and to ensure our obligations under Articles 14 and 16 are met.

We have developed a series of in-depth papers on individual UNCRPD Articles. These papers detail the main data available relevant to specific Articles and provide an overview of key policies, programmes, services, supports and data that exist in the Irish context. Our paper on Article 13 is under development but our paper on Article 16 is published.

Read our Series of Papers on Individual UNCRPD Articles

NDA Annual Conference 2020

The NDA Annual Conference 2020 focused on the theme of Access to Justice in line with Article 13 UNCRPD, in the context of criminal justice. Article 13 UNCRPD seeks to ensure effective access to justice for persons with disabilities on an equal basis with others.

Assisting People with Autism: Guidance for Justice Professionals in Communicating with People with Autism

We produced this short guide – in consultation with a range of stakeholders - to support understanding of autism in the justice sector.

Access to Justice for People with Disabilities as Victims of Crime in Ireland

We commissioned University College Cork and CCJHR to conduct research on access to justice for people with disabilities as victims of crime in Ireland.

Draft Codes of Practice under the Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Act 2015

We drafted 11 Codes of Practice in anticipation of the Assisted Decision Making (Capacity) (Amendment) Act. The final codes belong to the Decision Support Service and will be available on its website.

Use of Intermediaries in the Justice System

We developed a paper advising the implementation of a model of supports for disabled people who have communication difficulties as they interact with the Irish justice system.