People with intellectual disability are not only over-represented as victims of crime, they are also over-represented as suspects or alleged offenders within the criminal justice system (French, 2007; Hayes, 2000, in Ellem & Wilson, 2010). Some commentators have suggested that as many as 35 percent of the young people in juvenile justice detention in Australia fall into the mild to moderate range of intellectual disability (West, 2011).

Research demonstrates that people with intellectual disability are most likely to commit offences involving impulsive or unpremeditated behaviour, rather than crimes involving planning and foresight. Offenders with intellectual disability also more likely to commit relatively minor offences, but to commit these offences repeatedly. They are also more likely to be charged with public order offences (French, 2007).

Many people with intellectual disability experience wide-ranging psychological and socio-economic disadvantages, which can predispose them to being charged with public order offences. MacDonald (2008) discusses several examples of the relationship between disadvantage and crime:

  • Poor ability to manage daily life activities, such as budgeting for food and maintaining accommodation, which leads to ‘survival crimes’ 
  • Poor organisational skills and memory, which leads to a failure to meet minor legal obligations 
  • Lack of education and knowledge about socially-acceptable behaviours and behaviours that constitute a crime 
  • Limited sex education and poor ability to discriminate between ‘public’ and ‘private’ behaviours 
  • Visibility in public spaces, as a result of poverty, homelessness and lack of daily occupation, which attracts high levels of surveillance 
  • Congregation amongst high-need populations and ‘survival cultures’ where conflict, abuse and exploitation are common 
  • Learned behaviours resulting from life experiences that include lack of dignity, privacy and respect afforded to their person and property, and victimisation.
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The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) will become available in Ipswich, Lockyer Valley, Scenic Rim and Somerset local government areas from 1 July 2017. A two-day expo in Ipswich is open to participants, service providers and community members. Where : North Ipswich Reserve, The Terrace,...
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National Disability Services is pleased to invite you to join us to discuss Talent Acquisition and Retention in the Disability Sector a two hour workshop. As the Ipswich region transitions into the NDIS our capacity to manage workforce challenges will become more critical. The workshop has been...
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Queensland Government media release Community and non-government organisations are encouraged to apply for a share in $150,000 to promote the abilities of all Queenslanders during Disability Action Week and International Day of People with Disability. Launching the 2017 Disability Community Events...
Media Statement Minister for Communities, Women and Youth, Minister for Child Safety and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence The Honourable Shannon Fentiman Financial assistance is now available for south-east Queensland’s not-for-profit organisations that have been affected...
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Access to suitable, accessible housing is one of the greatest challenges for the aged and people with disability. Spinal Life Australia is seeking feedback on mandating accessible housing by 2020 and making communities more inclusive for people with disabilities. The feedback will shape the...
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Australian Government grants of up to $10,000 are now open to assist people with disability to participate in nationally-focussed disability Conferences in Australia, between 1 July 2017 and 30 June 2018. The Australian Government is inviting organisations to apply via an open process to deliver...
The NDIS is rolling out out across Toowoomba and west to the borders from January 1 2017. The NDIA will conduct local NDIS information sessions for people with disability, family, carers, providers and community members. This is a great opportunity to understand how to get ready for the NDIS and...
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Griffith University and Queensland Advocacy Incorporated will be hosting a human rights forum, Walk the Talk: Realising the 2010-2020 National Disability Strategy and our human rights promises, on Monday 20 March. The event promises to consider the progress Australia has made as we pass the half...
Queensland Government media release The Palaszczuk Government has launched a new guide to help grow Queensland’s accessible tourism market and break down barriers preventing people with disability from enjoying a holiday. Disability Services Minister Coralee O’Rourke said the Inclusive Tourism...
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The National Disability Services has produced a short animated video as part of their Human Rights and You Training. The free training package is designed for frontline disability workers and supervisors to help them understand human rights and why they are important in their work with people with...

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