OPA volunteer Joan Scott inducted into 2019 Victorian Honour Roll of Women
Office of the Public Advocate (OPA) volunteer Joan Scott has been inducted into the 2019 Victorian Honour Roll of Women for her outstanding work as an advocate for vulnerable Victorians in the justice system.
Ms Scott was one of 21 inspiring Victorian women inducted onto the Roll this year at a ceremony held in Melbourne on 10 March 2019 to coincide with International Women’s Day.
Minister for Women Gabrielle Williams paid tribute to the 2019 inductees, desribing them as "exceptional and inspirational women who have left an indelible mark on society".
Ms Scott was inducted in the 'local champion' category. Her citation read:
"For decades, Joan Scott has worked tirelessly to ensure that people with a disability or mental health diagnosis are not disadvantaged in dealings with Victoria Police and the criminal justice system.
She has been a volunteer Independent Third Person (ITP) with the Office of the Public Advocate since 1992, attending Geelong, Lora, Corio, Wourn Ponds, Torquoy and Bellorine police stations.
The role of ITP requires Joan to attend police interviews when someone with a cognitive disability or mental health diagnosis is being interviewed as a suspect, witness or victim. She ensures that people ore treated fairly and with respect, and helps them understand their rights throughout police processes.
Joan performed this role in an 'on call' capacity for many years-available 24 hours a day, seven days a week-and so could be called on to attend a police interview at any time. Joan has attended more than 500 interviews as on ITP. Amazingly, she is still on the roster seven days a week in her eighties.
In addition to her work as on ITP, Joan is a volunteer Corrections Independent Support Officer with Corrections Victoria, attending disciplinary hearings for prisoners who have an intellectual disability.
She is also a Justice of the Peace (JP) and on Independent Person with the Youth Referral and Independent Person Program (YRIPP).
Her previous volunteer roles include Bail Justice (for 12 years) and court network volunteer, attending the Supreme Court, Family Court and Footscray Court in Melbourne in her capacity as a JP.
Joan has shown phenomenal dedication as a volunteer in the local justice system, assisting some of the most vulnerable members of the community and ensuring they are afforded their basic human rights when in contact with police."
Ms Scott joins Public Advocate Colleen Pearce and Community Visitor Fay Richard, whio were inducted onto the Victorian Honour Roll of Women in 2016.