Disabled in Rural Victoria

Dr Marg Camilleri1

1Federation University, Ballarat, Australia

In Australia and internationally, the last decade has seen an increased focus on, and subsequent greater awareness of, the inequitable justice system response to the accused, offenders and victims with cognitive impairment. In Australia, these inequities have been documented by various national and state-based inquiries.  Much of the focus and subsequent reform in Australia has centred primarily, although not exclusively, on offenders and accused rather than victims. This presentation uses a case study, extracted from a larger study, as a vehicle through which to explore the justice system’s response to a young man with cognitive impairment who is a victim of crime, and resides in a rural location in Victoria, Australia. The case study is derived from interviews with the victim/witness and his mother and provides a sequential overview of the process and outcomes of this case from report to finalisation at court. The paper seeks to highlight the compounding impact of intersectional dimensions of victimisation, disability and rurality on access to justice for crime victims with cognitive impairment. The case also demonstrates the need to review legislation, procedure, policy and practice to reflect the tangible impact on individuals of so-called victimless crimes.


Marg has 20 years of professional experience in a range of community, government, and tertiary education settings, where her roles have included policy, research and advocacy. Marg commenced her academic career in 2014, her research areas of interest include: access to justice for victim survivors of sexual assault and family violence; victimisation and justice system response to crime victims with disabilities, rural criminology and improving system responses to marginalised groups.


Dec 10 2021