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Hello and welcome to And You Think You’re the Expert? podcast! The podcast that discusses intellectual disability, accessibility and violence. It was created by WWILD Sexual Violence Prevention Association Inc., in collaboration with experts in this topic – women and non-binary people with intellectual disability. Join our experts, as they interview workers about how they work with women and non-binary people with intellectual disability who have experienced violence. The experts share their wisdom around what workers and services could be doing to work better with this group.

And You Think You’re The Expert?

Episode 6: Police

In this episode of And You Think You’re the Expert?, our hosts Milly, Louisa, Cassie and Ashley interview Detective Acting Superintendent, Stephen Blanchfield, from the Queensland Police Service.

Tune in to hear Ashley explain why it’s important for people who have an intellectual disability to be offered a 93a interview when reporting sexual assault to police; Cassie share an example of what a good police experience looks like; and Milly share about the help she would have liked to have received from police when trying to apply for a DVO.

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‘And You Think You’re The Expert?’

Episode 6: Police


0:00:00.1 Jane: This podcast talks about sexual violence and domestic violence, it might make you feel upset or scared. If you need someone to talk to, there are numbers in the notes for this podcast.


0:00:12.2 Jane: We would like to first and foremost acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the lands on which we are gathered for this recording, the Turrbal and Jagera people of Meanjin. We would like to pay our respects to their Elders, past, present and emerging.

0:00:25.5 Abbey: If people believe that we can’t make decisions, then they don’t believe in us.

0:00:31.1 Minnie: If support tells you what to do all the time, you’ll never learn.

0:00:34.2 Amethyst: Don’t talk to me like I’m a child, but don’t also talk to me like you’re a professor.

0:00:39.2 Luna: Help us when we ask for help.

0:00:41.7 Poppy: To speak up, instead of feeling scared and afraid.

0:00:45.9 Betty: Listen to us, we know what we need.

0:00:48.8 Kaitie: Hello, this is, ‘And You Think You’re The Expert?’ podcast, where we talk about intellectual disability, accessibility and violence. Welcome, my name is Kaitie and I’m one of the workers from WWILD who helps out in each episode.

0:01:02.1 Jane: My name is Jane and I’m the other WWILD worker. Your host for each episodes are experts in the field, so they are women with an intellectual disability or ID for short. Please see our introduction episode if you would like any more information.

0:01:15.1 Kaitie: “You need to believe us, we shouldn’t have to convince you”. This was said by one of our experts in one of our initial workshops. This theme of not feeling believed came up in just about every group, but especially when we spoke to the experts about their experiences of working with the police. Our experts hope that this episode helps to change the way police work with people with intellectual disabilities so they can have better experiences in the future when reporting crimes.

0:01:45.9 Jane: There were many different ideas about what needs to change. There were many experts who wanted to contribute to this episode. Our experts in the studio today are Ashley…

0:01:55.1 Ashley: Hi, I’m Ashley.

0:01:56.9 Jane: Milly.

0:01:57.5 Milly: I’m Milly.

0:02:00.1 Jane: And Louisa.

0:02:00.2 Louisa: Hello, my name is Louisa.

0:02:01.1 Jane: As usual, they are joined by a peer worker. Today we have our peer worker, Cassie.

0:02:05.2 Cassie: Hi, I’m Cassie.

0:02:06.2 Jane: Our hosts will be interviewing, Stephen Blanchfield.

0:02:09.2 Stephen Blanchfield: Hello, I’m Stephen.

0:02:10.1 Jane: He’s a Detective Acting Superintendent of the Child Abuse and Sexual Crime Group. He has kindly offered his time today to answer our experts questions and listen to some of their ideas they have about what they think police could be doing better when working with women who have intellectual disabilities. Our first sort of questions are around training. Many of our experts said they felt police needed more training about how to work with people who have an intellectual disability as they felt that the police did not have a good understanding of their disability. One of the experts said, “They see someone with a walker or a cane and they understand that a lot more.” So Cassie, would you like to ask our first question?

0:02:53.9 Cassie: What type of training do you police officers get with working around people with an intellectual disability?

0:03:02.2 Stephen: So, across… As you can imagine, police have got a lot of things that they have to learn about, so there’s training about all sorts of aspects of being a police officer, from road policing, so writing tickets and doing drink driving offences right through to the area I work in which is child abuse and sexual violence area, and so what we try to do particularly around, and I’ll probably use the term more around vulnerable people, which includes children, women, people in certain work industries like sex workers, we know are quite vulnerable in terms of how we deal with them, and the things that they… and information they wanna provide us. So, we try and include in all of the training, parts of it that tell us how to help and how to help people who are vulnerable, so it includes people with physical disabilities, people who have some intellectual disabilities or intellectual impairments. We can… We’ll always strive to do better, we know that, but it can be a complex area, because as you say, when someone has a cane, we can see that. So, some of what we are trained to do is ask questions around that, and that can be problematic too. So, we try and ask, do you need support? Is there someone who helps you during the day? Those sorts of questions can help us understand firstly, if someone has an intellectual disability and then helps us to work around how we’re going to help them, where we can refer them for more support or what things we can do to help them for whatever they’re reporting.

0:04:44.2 Kaitie: So what does everyone think about training? ’cause I know that a few people had some ideas down here what they wanted to say to the police around training?

0:04:53.6 Louisa: To talk to us softly and… To talk politely and softly to them and try to understand things.

0:04:58.2 Kaitie: So that’s what you think they should learn about in training?

0:05:00.4 Louisa: Yep.

0:05:01.2 Ashley: Using simple wordings, so not long wordings, so if someone is unable to understand, they should be able to speak up and say, “Please explain it another way.”

0:05:15.2 Kaitie: Why do we think training’s important?

0:05:18.7 Ashley: So, my experience with the police haven’t been great but I’ve had some good times as well. So, when I had the bad times, I felt like they didn’t believe me, I felt like that I was under investigation.. um and then I had to ask for my support worker to come in and help me, for a situation I deal with everyday. I shouldn’t feel like that. With the disability people, they shouldn’t feel like they are under investigation. I understand that you have to try and get as much information as you can, but yeah, most of the time I felt like I was under investigation, I felt like I did something wrong.

0:06:03.9 Stephen: And we… Sorry, I… And we know because that’s not unusual feedback to us, is that we sometimes don’t get it right. And most of the feedback is that, that the victims feel that we’ve made them… Questioned them and made them feel like they’re being investigated, exactly what you say, so we do try and… And our training tries to let police officers understand that… And again, trying not to use… And I take them by what you said before about our big words. We talk a lot around, and there’s a lot of talk about being trauma-informed and victim-centric. So when we talk about police needing to be trauma-informed, that means we need to be much more flexible with how we approach people. So instead of just thinking that you understand that I need to know the information, so I’m gonna keep asking you questions, and you’re feeling quite almost attacked by that, I need to step back and say, “oh, Okay,” and explain it to you, “I need to know these questions.” We find the more information and understanding that people have, the less frightened and the less attacked they feel. So, not all police are good at it, and we cannot… And some people can be trained better at it, and some people can’t be. So we work through that, and that’s why we have some officers who specialise in dealing with people who are victims of sexual crime, violent crime.

0:07:36.5 Ashley: Yeah, so with the fact of, like you’re saying, not all police officers are good at it. I have had some bad experience with the police, but we’ve had some good times where I had phone calls, follow up phone calls from the same officer, followed through right up until the matter were dealt with.

0:07:58.9 Jane: Ashley, when we were talking about this, we talked about what made you feel comfortable with the officer and what it was that you liked about him. And you shared that it was important that he kept you updated and that he talked to you rather than talking to me. Did you wanna talk through that a little bit?

0:08:16.0 Ashley: Most police officers use words like mumble jumble to me, things that I will never understand. Following up on procedures, like he only contacted me by email, by phone or any way that he possibly could get in contact with me. If he couldn’t, he’ll contact my support worker at the time. Yeah, but with… I just wanna make sure that the police are understanding that they… Look, not everyone’s gonna tell you they have a disability, we know that, but try and use little words, try not to push them over the edge, ’cause that’s where I felt when I was getting pushed. That’s all I can ask for you… With the training.

0:09:04.6 Stephen: We know, and that’s why it’s important to us to understand to do that, and we do try and train people to be a bit more understanding and use smaller words and try and make sure people understand what, one, what we’re saying. So like you say, use smaller words, or ask like we talked about earlier. There’s nothing wrong with saying, “Sorry, I don’t understand what you’re saying. Can you explain that again?” So we try and encourage police to be like that as much as we can. And we know what happens is that you get frustrated, and when people get frustrated, they get angry. We know that happens. We’re trying to make that happen much less.

0:09:38.5 Ashley: Oh, that’s what we’re here for.

0:09:40.0 Stephen: Yeah, yeah, that’s right. Absolutely, so it’s good. And it’s also good ’cause so far the things you’re telling us are things we know and things we’re trying already to work on, and if you can give us a bit more about how to fix it, that’ll be good.

0:09:52.7 Ashley: So, okay, I’ll give you a couple of options that I dealt with. So I dealt with uniformed police. I told him I have an intellectual disability and they then didn’t… I asked for the 93A, and even before I even understood what the 93A meant, I always had to tell them that they can’t question me without my support worker. Even when I felt comfortable with the officers. But they don’t offer the 93A. So, that uniformed police is not saying, “Okay, you have intellectual disability, why don’t we give you a 93A?” That’s where… I think that’s the reason why we’re here for today, to try and allow you to understand that not everyone out there in a uniform or un-uniformed is offering the 93A.

0:10:47.0 Louisa: What does a 93A mean, Stephen, please?

0:10:49.4 Stephen: Okay, so a 93A, and so… And again, I’ll be a bit technical, so I’m sorry, but a 93A is the section of the Evidence Act that the law says we can do certain things. It says that we can do lots of things, but as a general easy answer, is that it allows police when they take somebody’s statement who is either a child or a… So it’s either/or, it’s a child or a person with an impairment of the mind, and that’s that again, a legal definition for that, so it’s a bit complicated as to what that all means, but it allows us to record their statement. So, instead of sitting with a typewriter and having to ask questions and go back and forward and type the answers out, we can just record a conversation like we’re doing now, which is a lot more comfortable. We know we tend to get better evidence out of it usually, and it can then be played in court as the evidence that you would give. So you don’t have to come to court and say everything again, which is what you would normally do with a typewritten statement. Even though we take your typewritten statement, you would have to sit in a witness box in court with everybody there and say what you said in the typewritten statement. So, the 93A stops that.

There’s also lots of other bits of it that can be used so that you’re not in court. You might use… You might sit in another room and video link into a courtroom, so you don’t have to see the person who committed the offences against you. You don’t see everybody in the courtroom, not that there would normally be lots of people in the courtroom, but it helps you be in a different place than in the courtroom, a much more comfortable place. You can sometimes pre-record the answers to questions from the defense counsel. So the defense is the representative for the offender and they’ll ask you questions and cross-examine you. And so under 93A, there’s an ability that in some instances, that questions to you can be pre-recorded so you don’t have to do it again. It can be played in court. So it provides a lot of protection or support for a witness. So it is something we like, the police like, because we know it really supports victims of crime.

0:13:05.6 Louisa: Can you have a support worker to be there with you when you’re doing the recording and stuff, doing like you explained?

0:13:13.2 Stephen: Yeah, so the general answer, Louisa, for that is yes. It doesn’t always happen, because we’ve got two things that I suppose… That fight against one another from our perspective. We want you to be comfortable, and we want you to be able to provide the best evidence that you can to us, so the best version of what happened to you that you can. There’s a lot of academic study. So people at universities have done a lot of study that have… That tell us that the less people in a room talking together is less distracting, which means you’re more focused on what you and I have to discuss, which means we get better evidence from you. So it’s a bit about balancing, that if you seem and you are okay enough that you could probably sit and talk to me one-on-one, just you and I in a room, then we would probably try to do that. But if you felt that you’re not just gonna be able to talk to us or to me without having someone with you, then we do tell police, “You should have that person in there.”

0:14:26.9 Ashley: So the support worker issue. Me and my support worker had a couple instances where she was allowed in the room, and there’s been a couple instances, I asked if she could come in the room, and she got declined.

0:14:43.2 Stephen: So the other part of that can be that sometimes your support worker might actually be a witness that we need to talk to about what happened to you, not the person that did it, but we have a type of witness that we call a preliminary complaint witness. What that means is that that’s one of the first people that you told about what happened to you.

0:15:11.0 Kaitie: I’m hearing from Stephen that support workers can be distracting, but also really helpful if they help a person stay calmer. And what I’m hearing from Ashley, and what we’ve heard, I think, in the really bigger group, is that support workers coming to the interview does help people stay calm. Nearly everyone we spoke to on this project who’d reported a crime to police said they found it really helpful to have their support worker with them, or they wish their support worker had been allowed to come in with them, because they struggled to stay calm without them. So the advice from our experts is, as long as they’re not a preliminary witness, let the support worker come in. But let’s get back to the 93A interview itself.

0:15:53.5 Jane: I was just thinking, Louisa, we talked a little bit about this when we caught up, and I don’t think that you’ve had a 93A interview, but you have done some written statements in the past, and you talked about that being quite tricky. Did you feel like explaining why that was hard?

0:16:12.6 Louisa: ‘Cause sometimes it wasn’t… They weren’t clearly explaining what was going on, and just… Yeah, sometimes you need that extra help to have someone there, so then they can explain it to you if you don’t understand. It was very confusing ’cause sometimes you think, “Oh my God,” and then it’s constantly, bang, bang, bang, bang. And it’s like, “Come on, just, can you clearly explain?” Yeah. And that… Instead of going… of saying one thing, and then, yeah, a different thing.

0:16:36.8 Stephen: And we do try and train our police… I’ll say this, that it’s… That some of the things that you’re raising are not just issues for people with disabilities or people with intellectual impairments. We have people who tell us, particularly who are victims of sexual violence from all walks of life, who tell us that they felt confused with some of the questioning, they didn’t feel they understood what the process was going to be. And as I said before, we’re all much more comfortable when we understand and know what’s gonna happen next.

0:17:10.9 Kaitie: So I’m thinking, just while we’re on this topic, one of our participants, Matilda, who couldn’t come today spoke about the 93 interview… Sorry, the 93A interview as well. I might just read out a quote from her. She said, “The room where I did the 93A interview was comfortable. I felt okay in there. I think it’s a bit scary to have the camera so visible. I could see it at the police station I went to. I think they should move it so you can’t see it. I think the 93A is easier than the written statement, because you do a written statement, you’re just in a room with tables and chairs. Its plain and clinical. I think you can give a better statement when you’re comfortable.” Um, and I think that came up a lot when people talk about, when they’re more comfortable, they’re more likely to give good evidence, they’re more likely to say the things correctly or remember correctly, and that kind of thing.

0:18:02.2 Milly: How do you know if someone got intellectual disability?

0:18:12.8 Stephen: As we talked about before, Millie, so sometimes it can be hard for us to know. But often, people will come to the police station, and they’ll have a support worker with them. And that helps us to know that that person that we’re about to talk to needs support. But sometimes, it might need the person to tell us that they have some difficulties understanding what we’re saying, or that they have difficulties learning or communicating, they have difficulty communicating with us. And then we as police, and we do get some training to start asking some questions about that to determine and to work out, to make a decision, do we need to get a support person in if they haven’t brought someone with them, do we need to talk to somebody who’s an expert in communication, about how we communicate with that person to get the best information out of them? So generally, it’s through conversation, through talking and asking the person what they need. And again, we know it’s not always done well, but that’s how we try.

0:19:15.0 Milly: ‘Cause I got disability in me, and I just want to get a DVO order with my ex.

0:19:30.9 Stephen: Yep.

0:19:32.4 Milly: He keeps on following me, stalking me, and he stole money from me, hit me in my face, stole one of my DVDs, and I have not got that back and I know I won’t get that back.

0:19:48.6 Kaitie: So, I know that when we talked about this, you went to the police to get help with the DVO and it was hard, wasn’t it?

0:19:56.3 Milly: Yes. I only went to the police and I asked them if I can get a DVO order, and the police officer said I have to go to court to get one.

0:20:13.0 Kaitie: We talked about that being hard, hey, ’cause you didn’t know how to go to court and get one?

0:20:18.9 Milly: I did not know how to get to court to get one, but I got… A support worker said if I do have to go to court, she will help me go to court to get one.

0:20:37.8 Kaitie: So we talked about how you wish that the police officer had helped you with the DVO, hey?

0:20:43.0 Milly: Yes.

0:20:45.5 Stephen: Yep. There are a couple of ways, a number of ways that DVO… And I know that… Well, I think that was a question I had. So a DVO is a Domestic Violence Order, which is under the Domestic Violence and Family Protection Act. Sorry for the big title, but that’s what it is. But yeah, so that’s the book of law that tells us about how domestic violence and what we can do as police and not just police. And that’s what probably the officer was directing you to, is that people don’t need police to take out or make applications for Domestic Violence Orders. It probably wasn’t handled very well in your case Millie, and they probably could have explained it better to you.

0:21:26.9 Jane: Yeah. So overall, the advice from our experts about DVOs was that it is easier if police take them out for people rather than asking them to do a private application. Private application means the person has to write out their application, know how to get to court, go to court, explain their application in front of a magistrate and possibly the person who was violent to them. They may be asked to do this several times if there are multiple court dates or a trial. That’s a whole lot of work. Our experts said really clearly that they liked it when police did this for them instead. But back to how police work out who has an intellectual disability.

0:22:06.3 Kaitie: Does anyone wanna talk about whether police or how police should check if someone has an intellectual disability?

0:22:11.5 Ashley: Yeah, I can say. Ask them. Ask them. Some people honestly say yes.

0:22:22.1 Louisa: Or you can just tell them that just to say clearly, “I have got a disability.” Or, “I have an intellectual disability.” And then, they can maybe clearly tell you what the next step is to do with some… To go through and stuff like… Things like that.

0:22:37.4 Kaitie: I might read out what Matilda said here ’cause I think she’s got a lovely quote here. Matilda said, “Maybe the police could ask the person, are you comfortable telling me about your disability, or is there someone we could talk to to find out more?” Some people don’t like telling people about their disability. It’s a bit of a two-way conversation. It’s easier to open up. If the police officer could make some conversation first, that would be helpful. I think people would be more comfortable saying they had a disability if they knew more about the 93A interview. I don’t think people with a disability know this is an option. Some people are not with organizations like WWILD so they don’t know.”

0:23:21.6 Stephen: I’d like that quote.


0:23:26.3 Stephen: I think Matilda’s really, really put that really down, really well. I think that is a really good way to explain to us how we should do it. I think a lot of police do it okay, it’s the ones that are problematic that are always gonna be the ones that fly to the top and are the ones people talk about. But I think, yeah, the way she’s written that is really good, and we can certainly share that with some units where they do training in this space and they can use that. Police are okay or better at when they hear people tell them what’s wrong, not try and guess for themselves. We like to hear people say, “You need to speak to us like this. You need to say these things to us so that we understand that you understand.” So that would be a great one to take away and use.

0:24:16.0 Ashley: So I was talking to Jane early on about this scenario. We were talking about maybe taking them into a private room and asking them in a private room ’cause I know when you’re in the police station, who’s around you? Public. You don’t want everyone knowing that you have a disability. So maybe saying, “Do you wanna come in a private room and I can ask you if you’ve got a disability?”

0:24:46.0 Cassie: How do you show women with an intellectual disability that you believe them?

0:24:51.6 Stephen: I would encourage people to say they believe them.

0:24:56.3 Cassie: The police officer I had when I had to go and give my statement, he actually helped me all the way through. He was there with me. Always kept me updated on the case. Even if there was a day where I needed to talk to someone, he was always there to talk to and I actually felt I was believed by him.

0:25:24.1 Ashley: Yeah, I’ve had a couple of officers like that, too, and I’ve had a couple of officers I felt that didn’t believe me either. So…

0:25:32.1 Jane: So Louisa, did you want to share a little bit about your experience?

0:25:37.9 Louisa: I think they should believe everything I’ve had every time where I thought police didn’t believe me, the tone of the person’s voice made me feel they didn’t believe me…

0:25:50.0 Jane: So it sounds like you’ve had a time where you didn’t feel that you were believed when you went to the police.

0:25:55.6 Louisa: Yep, ’cause one time I went to the police and I didn’t feel safe there because I was saying one story, and then I would try and… Made a mistake and say, “Oh, that’s not what’s happened. I made a mistake.” And then, I told them the right story, and then, yeah.

0:26:10.9 Jane: Yeah, thank you for sharing that, Louisa. I think not having things explained properly can mean people get mixed up and then they’re seen as not telling the truth. What do you think about this one, Cass?

0:26:24.4 Cassie: Like they think we change our stories on a regular basis, but trying to remember everything and what happened is not easy when you’ve got an intellectual disability.

0:26:40.6 Jane: Yeah. So I think it’s not that people have changed their story, it’s that the questions may not have made sense to them and they were answering the best way that they could. This is why being accessible is so important to police processes. So I’m gonna read out a quote from Banksia. She says, “I went to the police station. I was really upset because of what happened. They made me sit in the waiting room and wait my turn. By the time I got to go in to be interviewed, I was that frazzled. They were telling me that they didn’t understand me, they cut you off. They then told me that it wasn’t going to go anywhere. I feel like I won’t go to the police if something has happened to me. I’ve had a cop tell me that I needed to go to the psych unit, because I was having trouble explaining what had happened.” This sort of stuff happens all the time to people who have a disability.

0:27:34.6 Cassie: How do you make women with an intellectual disability feel safe when they come to you to report a crime?

0:27:42.9 Stephen: Look, we do try to find quiet places to talk because we know a lot of… We know that a lot of noise and a lot of people around is always hard to talk to for anybody, but with people who may have intellectual disabilities or physical disabilities… I know many mentioned before being half deaf. I’ve got some hearing issues myself and I know that being around lots of people can be quite difficult for me to hear, which means I don’t understand well. So just some things like that to try and make the space safer for people who need to talk about things. And again, like we’ve talked about, the more information we provide to people about what’s going to happen next or what can happen next and what they can do, what decisions they can make about what’s going to happen, and we know from other conversations we’ve had with victims of sexual violence, particularly is, they feel that they don’t have a choice about something, so we could get better at making sure people have the right to make decisions about the process. So there are things we try to do. We can get better, but certainly that ability to make choices is important, but also making sure that they’re in a space that they feel comfortable enough to have a conversation about what’s happened to them.

0:29:00.4 Cassie: When I actually worked with my police officer. He actually made me feel really safe because he used the room as my safe place and if I didn’t feel comfortable in the police station, he’d always arrange it to meet me in the community or somewhere where I felt really comfortable in so I could give my statement and that… So yeah.

0:29:30.8 Stephen: And again, I think that comes down to when you said meet you in the community somewhere you felt safe, it’s about that you having some control.

0:29:37.4 Jane: When I spoke to Matilda about what makes her feel safe, she actually spoke a lot about being in a safe, comfortable space. So, she said, “It’s a bit hard because usually when you talk to police, you have to sit out in the common area. I think there should be a place where people can sit that is a bit more private. I was put in a waiting room before my interview started. It was a blank room and just had a table and chair, it was really formal. I felt really uncomfortable in this room. I felt nervous before the interview and this room didn’t help. I wanted to run out of there and not do it. I think the police should ask you if you would like to speak to a female or a male officer. They could make you feel comfortable, perhaps offering people a coffee or a drink. It’s very popular, this coffee and drink. I think that would really help. It’s also important to let people know they can have a break. I wasn’t offered one when I did my interview and I would have really liked one. She just kept asking me the questions” And she also says that it’s good for police to ask questions in another way if it’s clear the person isn’t understanding.

0:30:40.4 Kaitie: I think that’s a really good summary from Matilda around the themes that a lot of women spoke about when it comes to feeling safe. So now we’ll be talking about myths. So these are things that lots of people believe are true, but are actually not true. We talk about these each episode. That’s because our expert said that myths are a big reason why people with intellectual disabilities face discrimination both from the police and from the general public.

0:31:05.9 Cassie: Some people believe that people with an intellectual disability make things up more than people who don’t have an intellectual disability. What do you think about it?

0:31:20.9 Stephen: That’s a myth. That’s not true. Certainly from a police perspective, our officers wouldn’t say that that’s true.

0:31:29.8 Louisa: Some people think that they are making up stories and some people might not make up some stories.

0:31:34.9 Jane: Why is it hard for people with a disability if people are always thinking that they make up stories?

0:31:40.6 Ashley: In my event of what experience I’ve had, I felt that ’cause I have an intellectual disability and I told the police officers I have it, they felt that it was in my head and it wasn’t.

0:31:56.9 Kaitie: And that makes it harder to report crimes, hey.

0:32:00.4 Ashley: It really does. There were times that I didn’t feel like I could go to the police station and ask for help.

0:32:06.4 Kaitie: Yeah. And I know that we had a woman from the Gold Coast group who spoke about this as well and she said she thought this is the reason people with disability probably experience violence more or don’t get as much opportunity to go to court for their crimes ’cause they don’t feel like they’re believed as much.

0:32:23.9 Stephen: We work with a lot of groups like WWILD and other support agencies and I know there’s some training that’s being done and the name of the training is called Start By Believing. So it’s telling police and anybody else who’s involved in the training that, “Let’s start from the point of view of believing what we’re told and therefore we can, by our words and actions, if we start by believing, we’ll show people that we believe them.” So I think that’s important.

0:32:49.9 Cassie: We’re coming to the end of the episode.

0:32:52.9 Ashley: Thank you very much for coming today and we enjoyed having you in our hot seat and I hope you’ve learned off us on having an intellectual disability.

0:33:03.4 Stephen: Thank you very much for having me. I’m really, really impressed with the questions that you had for me. I hope that I am… I hope that I gave you answers that help you.

0:33:12.4 Jane: So that ends the episode. So we’ve covered a lot of ground today, but I think the big advice to come out of this episode was for police to explain what they are doing and why and for them to always, always, always offer the 93A interview if they think someone has an intellectual disability and of course, always believe the person.


0:33:31.9 Alison: We have made a booklet with information about the Listen Up! project. This is information about our host, how we did the project, and some other stuff that may help workers. You can find it on our website. See the notes for this podcast for more information. If you find some of the things we spoke about today upsetting, you can find numbers for support, if you live in Australia in the notes for this podcast.

0:34:01.6 Jane: This podcast was created as part of the Listen Up! Project at WWILD. We were kindly funded for this project by the Department of Social Services as part of their community-led project to prevent violence against women and their children. What we talk about in this podcast is not advice, WWILD expressly disclaims any liability howsoever caused to any persons with respect to any action taken in reliance in the contents of this publication.


Contact numbers for support in Australia

If this podcast has upset you in any way, please reach out to get some support.

The numbers in Australia are:

  • 1800 Respect – 1800 737 732
    The National Sexual Assault, Family & Domestic Violence Counselling Line for any Australian who has experienced, or is at risk of, family and domestic violence and/or sexual assault.
    24 hours, 7 days a week.
  • Lifeline – 13 11 14
    A national number which can help put you in contact with a crisis service in your state
  • Kids Helpline – 1800 55 1800
    Telephone, email and web counselling for children and young people.
  • Relationship Australia – 1300 364 277
    Support groups and counselling on relationships.
  • National Disability Abuse and Neglect Hotline – 1800 880 052
    An Australia-wide telephone hotline for reporting abuse and neglect of people with disability

About this project

These resources were developed and published by WWILD SVP ASSOCIATION INC.© in collaboration with 33 women with intellectual disabilities. For more information, see

Contact us

WWILD Sexual Violence Prevention Association Inc.

Phone:           (07) 3262 9877
Fax:                (07) 3262 9847

Contact hours:
Monday to Friday | 9am – 5pm

Funding Acknowledgement

The And You Think You’re the Expert? resources were created as part of the Listen Up! Project, which was kindly funded by the Department of Social Services through the Community Led Projects to Prevent Violence Against Women and their Children.

Acknowledgement of Country

We would like to first and foremost acknowledge the traditional owners of the many unceded lands on which we gathered on for this project; the Turrbul and Jagera people of Meanjin (Brisbane), the Yugambeh people of the Gold Coast, the Gubbi Gubbi people of Caboolture, the Darumbal people of Rockhampton, and the Turrbal, Jagera and Yugambeh people of Logan. We would like to pay our respects to their Elders past, present and emerging. It always was and always will be Aboriginal land.