How we help people with disability access VCAT
This International Day of People with Disabilities, meet the dedicated team helping people with disabilities gain better access to VCAT services.
3 December 2021
Friday 3 December is International Day of People with Disabilities – an annual celebration of people with disabilities. The 2021 theme is 'fighting for rights in the post-COVID era'.
This year, everyone is called to celebrate the challenges, barriers and opportunities for people who live with disabilities, in the context of a global pandemic.
As part of VCAT’s priority to foster accessibility for all, VCAT established the Disability Liaison Officer (DLO) program in 2018.
Our DLOs assist people with disability to gain better access to the Tribunal's services, acting as a point of contact for parties with disability accessing the Tribunal.
One of those DLOs, Melissa, said the role was about ensuring the most disadvantaged and vulnerable in our community receive the support they need when engaging with the law and the justice system.
'During 2019 and 2020, we assisted 150 parties with advice, referrals, and disability related adjustments,' she said.
'Our vision is to uphold the right of Victorians with disability to live and participate in Victorian society on the same basis as everyone else – to be supported in their aspirations for everyday life.'
DLOs can help users by:
- providing information about VCAT processes
- assisting in the completion of application forms
- being a point of contact for parties with disability attending a VCAT hearing
- giving advice on what support services they can provide.
When VCAT is open to the public, DLOs can also coordinate pre-visits to the venue if requested by the user.
There are a few things that DLOs are not able to do: provide legal support or advice; advise what to write on an application; offer extensive emotional support or provide support that is beyond operational. However, they can refer users to services such as Court Network, Victoria Legal Aid, First Aid Officers and Family Violence Support
The team also liaises with the Registry and Listings teams to coordinate the best available technology for hearings and assistance.
For more information on these services, see: Disability support services.