The Justice Advocacy Service

The Justice Advocacy Service (JAS) support adults and young people with cognitive impairment who are in contact with the NSW criminal justice system – as victims, witnesses and suspects/defendants. The service supports clients to exercise their rights and fully participate in the process.

JAS is delivered by the Intellectual Disability Rights Service and is available across NSW, including rural, regional and remote areas. The JAS team use an individual advocacy approach by arranging a support person to be with the victim, witness or suspect/defendant when they are in contact with police, courts and legal representatives.

Police, court staff, legal representatives, correctional officers or other justice stakeholders can make a referral to the Justice Advocacy Service.

If you, or someone you know, could be supported by the JAS please call 1300 665 908. This service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

There is also an online referral form available to refer someone to the service.

What is a cognitive impairment?

Under the Mental Health (Forensic Provisions) Act 1990 (NSW) cognitive impairment includes (without limitation) any of the following:

  • intellectual disability
  • borderline intellectual functioning
  • dementia
  • acquired brain injury
  • drug or alcohol related brain damage, including foetal alcohol spectrum disorder
  • autism spectrum disorder.

More information and resources can be found on the JAS website.

Evaluation report

An independent evaluation found that JAS significantly improved the outcomes for people with a cognitive impairment in the criminal justice system by helping them understand and navigate police, court and legal systems and supporting access to diversionary options. 

The evaluation also found JAS’ geographic coverage, high availability service model and use of volunteers allowed it to meet the demand for supports. It also benefited from good development of networks and referral pathways, and the ability to work effectively with other services, particularly Legal Aid NSW and the courts.

​So you have to go to court!

So you have to go to court! DVDThis video has been designed specifically  for people with cognitve disabilities who are required to attend court in NSW.

View "So you have to go to court!"

Court brochures for people with disabity

Request for court assistance.

a brochure that provides information about reasonable adjustments for people with disability in NSW courts.

Can you hear in the court?

Provides information on "hearing loops" for people who a hard of hearing an require amplification in a court setting.

Capacity Toolkit & Decision-making ELearning

The Capacity Toolkit is a resource for people who work with or care for people with decision-making disabilities.

Decision-making & Capacity Elearning Module

This free 30 minute module based on the Capacity Toolkit has been designed specifically for those in health, law, social work, finance and those who care or support people with decisionmaking disabilities.