Foetal alcohol court case a reminder of urgent need for Declared Places: WA Greens
22 January 2013
A recent Goldfields court case where a female drink driver was found unfit to stand trial reinforces the urgent need for Declared Places in WA, says WA Greens Spokesperson for Disabilities Alison Xamon.
“A psychiatric report presented to the court said the woman suffered from disabilities related to foetal alcohol syndrome,” Ms Xamon said.
“All charges against her were dismissed, yet she has been retained in custody.
“This case goes to the heart of the need for Declared Places in WA.
“People with foetal alcohol syndrome require targeted diagnosis and intervention so they are able to learn appropriate behaviours which can prevent them from putting themselves and others at risk.
“However, what is happening is that people are being diagnosed too late or not at all.
“And when they are diagnosed, there is a lack of effective, targeted Government-funded programs available.
“And to compound a difficult situation, this woman, who has been declared not competent to plead, remains behind bars simply because there is nowhere else for her to go.
“This emphasises the urgent need for the Government or any future Government to act on its promise to provide Declared Places as an alternative for people who have been found unfit to stand trial as a matter of priority.
“Many of these people are, subject to appropriate intervention, able to live full lives in the community with no risk to themselves or others.
“The promise was that the Disability Services Commission would operate these secure centres, with a focus on rehabilitation and training, in a community, homelike environment.
“Yet plans for these facilities appear to have stalled, while people in need continue to appear before our courts.
“It is urgent that these facilities proceed so that people are not left to languish in prison.”
Hon Alison Xamon MLC
Member for the East Metropolitan Region
Office: 62 Eighth Ave Maylands WA 6051
Postal Address: PO Box 104 Maylands WA 6931
Phone: (08) 9272 1718
Fax: (08) 9272 1719
Portfolios: Water, Urban Bushland, Mental Health, Education, Training, Industrial Relations, Employment, Occupational Health & Safety, Disabilities, Women, Children & Youth, Public Service, Community Services, Electoral Affairs, Consumer Protection, Vet Affairs, Volunteering