Improving disability inclusion: creating accessibility for people with communication difficulties with Victoria Police frontline services

Denise  West2, Georgia Burn2, Barb  Solarsh2, Katie  Lyon2, Hilary  Johnson2, Olivia Petty1

1Victoria Police, Melbourne, Australia,

2Scope Australia, Hawthorn , Australia

The Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission’s 2014 Beyond Doubt report found that people with disabilities in Victoria are routinely denied access to justice and safety because police are ill-equipped to meet their needs. The report issued a recommendation for Victoria Police to gain and maintain communication access accreditation according to the advice of Scope. Funded by the National Disability Insurance Agency’s (NDIA) Information, Linkages and Capacity Building (ILC) National Readiness grant, Victoria Police and Scope worked together to achieve this recommendation by piloting a communication access strategy at one 24-hour police station.

A collaborative partnership between Scope (Aust.) and Victoria Police, the pilot project aimed to:

  1. Increase customer satisfaction of people with communication disability when accessing Victoria Police services
  2. Increase the skills, knowledge and confidence of Victoria Police staff when providing services to people with communication disability
  3. Culminate with the awarding of the Communication Access Symbol at one Victoria Police 24-hour station.

A pre- and post-intervention mixed-methods design was used. Descriptive quantitative and qualitative data was collected throughout the project including staff surveys, role-plays, interviews with police, and customer experience evaluations conducted by people with lived experience of communication disability. The intervention strategy involved focus groups, development of customised communication resources, and training for police.

This presentation will identify barriers and lessons learnt in relation to integrating communication access training and practices within Victoria Police, and outline the benefits of collaborative partnerships and co-design approaches with people with lived experience.


Bio to come

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