Helping students with intellectual disabilities learn about the law

Helping students with intellectual disabilities learn about the law

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

We are joining forces with the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development (DEECD) on a statewide legal education project for special schools.

Our Community Legal Education team will work with education professionals to develop eLearning tools specifically created for young people with a mild intellectual disability. Teachers will be able to use these in the classroom to educate students about legal topics such as police, authority, relationships and social media.

The project, ‘Learning the law’, is fully funded by DEECD, and a reference group of teachers and principals are working closely with us to ensure the content is relevant and integrates into the curriculum.

Community Legal Education Manager Monica Ferrari said they had been visiting schools to get first-hand knowledge of what was needed and how it could work.

‘These visits have given us practical insight into the legal problems students encounter and how they are using social media,’ she said.

‘Like all teenagers, these students might have problems with Facebook, cyberbullying, difficult encounters with police and protective services officers, and getting into trouble in public spaces.

‘Their stories and real-life experiences will bring the video components of the toolkit to life, and help us shape the legal content.

‘We’re looking forward to an exciting partnership, combining our legal experience and knowledge of the law and tailoring it to the educational setting and the learning styles of teenagers with an intellectual disability. Parents will also be involved in the process.’

Monica said the findings of the Legal Australia-Wide Survey 2012 highlighted that people with a disability experienced legal problems at double the rate of others in the community.

‘A recent Victorian Parliamentary Law Reform Committee (the Inquiry into access to and interaction with the justice system by people with an intellectual disability and their families and carers) also recommended a community education campaign for people with an intellectual disability, so this project is very timely,’ she said.

Four schools are involved in the project’s development. It has been endorsed by the Principals’ Association of Special Schools, and will be available in Victorian special schools in 2014.

More information

Read our Submission to the inquiry into access to and interaction with the justice system by people with an intellectual disability and their families and carers (doc, 348.5 KB).

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