The Disability Advice Response Team (DART) is a service response to the overrepresentation of people with disability in the criminal justice system. MCM has partnered with VALS to provide this support in five children's courts in Victoria.
DART workers can assist eligible young people by:
DART workers also provide short term support assisting with linking young people to the NDIS or re-engaging with NDIS supports, and engaging other community-based services related to disability supports.
DART does not provide legal advice, advise on sentencing options, direct treatment or long-term case-management support. DART workers will work with lawyers to ensure any interactions with court, including advice to court, are approved alongside their work with the young person.
DART referrals can be made in person at each court, please enquire via DART@mcm.org.au for more information on staff availability. Site specific resources are available in each court.
Once the DART worker has received a referral they will meet the young person (and their guardian if they are under 16 years of age) in court and explain the purpose of the screening tool. If the young person or guardian then gives consent to continue with the screening this will be completed on the spot. Advice to court will be prepared and provided to the young person’s lawyer and then to the magistrate if suitable.
The screening tool has been developed by the MCM Allied Health team and is a set of questions and criteria that is used to determine the possibility of whether the young person may or may not have a disability.
The outcome of the initial screening tool will be discussed with the young person and then shared with their lawyer and the magistrate.
*Please note that the screening outcome is not a clinical assessment and that the DART worker will be making recommendations of further assessment to assist with providing short term outreach options.
A referral can be made for any young person presenting at court for criminal matters, between the ages of 10 and 18 who may or may not have traits or characteristics of disability.
*Please note, DART workers at Broadmeadows and Shepperton locations are only available for Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander young people.