MHDCD Project

4. The IAMHDCD Project

The IAMHDCD project focuses on the experience of Indigenous people with multiple, co-occurring mental and cognitive impairments – very often exacerbated by abuse of alcohol and other drugs and resultant challenging behaviours. This group is often viewed as not being the responsibility of any one agency. In systemic terms, this failure of service integration results in the criminal justice system serving as the default institution into which they are funnelled (Baldry et al 2008b; Dowse et al 2009, 39; Baldry & Dowse 2013). New conceptual and methodological territory is being forged with this project, integrating a critical disability perspective with critical criminology, as well as critical race, Indigenous and feminist theory. Bringing critical perspectives together has opened up new ways to identify conceptualisations and interventions that enable the support and development of new individual, systemic and political levels of engagement (Dowse et al 2009, 39; Baldry 2014).  It is designed to illuminate the multiple, interlocking and compounding disadvantageous circumstances experienced by Australian Indigenous men and women with mental and cognitive disability in Australian criminal justice systems, and to bring critically informed tools of evidence in response. Ethics permissions for the IAMHDCD were given by UNSW HREC, NSW AHMRC and individual Aboriginal organisations with which the team worked.[1]


[1] UNSW HREC Ethics No. 10401, AH&MRC Ethics No. 858/12

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