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What does justice mean for people with disabilities in the European Union?

Madrid, April 11th 2019 – In a case of domestic abuse, a deaf woman was forced to be face to face with her abuser at all stages of the process. Why? Because both her and her abuser are deaf and there was only one interpreter available. This is one of a range of problems people with disabilities encounter commonly when navigating the EU justice system.  What happens when a person with intellectual disabilities is incarcerated? What obstacles do people with disabilities face throughout the judicial process? What obstacles prevent people with disabilities from accessing the judicial process in the first place? These are questions which the #Just4All project sought to address at its second seminar - Barriers of Access to Justice of Persons with Disabilities in the EU Context.
Following the seminar held in Brussels last month, this discussion, which saw 40 participants from a range of organisations and Spanish public institutions, extended the topics to address the navigation of justice systems for perpetrators with disabilities, including how people they are supported throughout detention, incarceration and/or release. Space was also made to discuss intersectional oppression of people with disabilities, such as sexism, ageism, racism, and xenophobia.
The initiative launched in November last year seeks to improve the accessibility of judicial systems across the European Union, lead by Fundación ONCE in partnership with the European Association of Service Providers for Persons with Disabilities (EASPD), the European Disability Forum (EDF), Fundación ONCE, Thomson Reuters Aranzadi, and the Instituto de los Derechos Humanos Bartolome de las Casas of Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (IDHBC UC3M), who hosted the event. The seminar welcomed participants from AGSSyE - Unidad de Gestión de la Diversidad / Delitos de Odio, Asociación Española de Fundaciones Tutelares, CERMI Mujeres, Confederación Salud Mental España, Fundación A la Par, ONCE, Notario de Montilla, Plena Inclusión España, and Tribunal Superior de Justicia de Madrid.
The outputs of this 30-month project will include an online glossary of the EU justice system, and a report on practices which make justice accessible, such as translating documents into accessible formats such as Easy to Read, and training judges and other legal professionals on how to work with people with disabilities. You can follow the progress of the project through the website

The next seminar is organised by EASPD at the European Economic and Social Committee on the 29th of May. This third seminar of the JustforAll project will focus on the European legal practitioners training needs that need to be fulfilled in order to ensure a full access to justice for persons with disabilities.
If you wish to attend please contact: Lea Rollin at

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This project is funded by the European Union’s Justice Programme (2014-2020)
The content of this letter represents the views of the author only and is their sole responsibility. The European Commission does not accept any responsibility for use that may be made of the information it contains.