Disability issues and the NSW Police Force
NSW Police Force uses the definition of disability as described by the NSW Disability Services Act 1993 and the Commonwealth Disability Discrimination Act 1992. NSW Police Officers do not diagnose, nor screen persons for disabilities but are guided by key indicators or descriptors or a statement from the person or their carer as to the nature of the disability.
People with disabilities are classified as ‘vulnerable persons’ under the Law Enforcement Powers and Responsibilities Regulation 2005. When a disability is established or strongly suggested, the vulnerable person should have the right to a support person when being interviewed by the police. This is the case whether the person is a witness, victim or alleged offender. This may involve the use of a carer, case worker, legal representative, guardian or AUSLAN interpreter.
Support for people with an Intellectual Disability can be arranged through the Criminal Justice Support Network. The Criminal Justice Support Network (CJSN) is a service of the Intellectual Disability Rights Service that provides volunteer support workers for people with an intellectual disability who are in contact with the criminal justice system. The CJSN is a 24 hour State-wide service who can be contacted through the Intellectual Disability Rights Service on 9318 0144. They also offer a toll free service on 1300 665 908.
Each Local Area Command should have a Customer Service Duty Officer. Local issues regarding people with disabilities and the police can be pursued through that officer. Contact details linking your residential suburb and the local police station can be found on the home page of this website.
While State and Federal legislation directs all government agencies to make allowances for people with a disability, it doesn’t mean that police will regard the person and the circumstances any differently to any other situation, interview or investigation.
How to contact the police if you have a hearing/speech impairment
The National Relay Service
Police Assistance Line (non emergencies)
Crime Stoppers (report crime anonymously)
People who are deaf or have a hearing or speech impairment can call emergency services through the National Relay Service:
TTY users dial 106 (This is a dedicated text-based emergency phone relay service for TTY users with direct access to the police, ambulance and fire brigade emergency lines.)
Internet relay users connect to the NRS (see www.relayservice.com.au for details) and then ask for 000
Making complaints about disability discrimination
To make a complaint, please refer How to lodge a complaint page.
Other avenues of complaint
Under the Disability Discrimination Act 1992, people can lodge complaints of discrimination and harassment with:
The Australian Human Rights Commission
GPO Box 5218, Sydney, NSW 2001
Phone 1300 656 419
TTY 1800 620 241
The NSW Ombudsman is an independent and impartial watchdog whose job is to make sure that agencies fulfil their functions properly and improve their delivery of services to the public.
Level 24, 580 George St, Sydney, NSW, 2000
Phone (02) 9286 1000
Toll free 1800 451 524 (from outside Sydney)
TTY 02 9264 8050
The Anti-Discrimination Board of NSW is part of the NSW Attorney General’s Department. It administers the Anti-Discrimination laws of New South Wales.
PO Box A2122, Sydney South 1235
Phone (02) 9268 5555
Toll free 1800 670 812 (for rural and regional New South Wales only)
TTY (02) 92685 5522