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Police fail to provide interpreter

Victoria* has a severe hearing impairment. She uses Australian Sign Language and finds communicating in English, especially written English, stressful and confusing. 

On 13 December 2011, Victoria attempted to make a complaint to police about an alleged assault. She requested an interpreter but none was organised, and it was not possible for her to make the complaint. 

Caxton Legal Centre assisted Victoria to make a complaint about the failure to provide an interpreter, first to the Anti-Discrimination Commission Queensland and then through the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT). They argued that if an attribute has particular common characteristics, those characteristics are part of the attribute. However, QCAT disagreed. For Victoria this meant they compared the treatment of her to someone who had adopted a vow of silence. It was that point that we appealed. 

QCAT agreed with us. This case is not yet over for Victoria, as QCAT now needs to determine her case again applying the correct test, but she is thrilled to have contributed to this important clarification of the law in Queensland. This decision will help people with a whole range of disabilities, as well as people with other attributes, bring legal actions when their rights are infringed. 

To find out more go here

*Not her real name.

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