Back in February I decided I would start writing a blog, it started with a post about the NZ Justice system and Queue Etiquette. I had planned to start writing about my experiences with my adult son who has, what the doctors call, a mild intellectual disability. I thought I’d throw in a couple of posts about crafts, some really easy food recipes (I have severe allergies when it comes to anything that might be located in or around the kitchen), some furniture up-cycling, gardening, maybe some updates on my latest life journey’s into menopause and to share the beautiful lifestyle that my man and I have on our 15 acre block of paradise here in New Zealand.
Well, as you can see from the lack of blog posts since February this just hasn’t happened. This is because of one thing and one thing only. No I didn’t go completely insane from an overdose of every menopausal symptom there ever was – that’s not to say I haven’t had them all!
My son and I have been overwhelmingly consumed with navigating the New Zealand Justice system. For the last 7 months I have been frustrated to the point of tears, lost hundreds of work hours (and income) and my very independent (mildly intellectually disabled) son has been forced to live with us at home. The last four months have been on a 24 hour curfew.
I have lost count of how many times we’ve been to court and been remanded for another month (last count it was 10 – back in June). There have been 2 reasons for this, firstly my son couldn’t organise a nosh up in a kitchen let alone his appointments. He missed court dates, appointments with psychiatrists, probation etc. You see, here in New Zealand no-one can talk to me about His business unless he gives them permission (Privacy Act). So even though he had been bailed to my place, they will only speak with him, that means I didn’t know when his appointments were! His lawyer finally decided to take matters into her own hands and call me, or did I call her? Who knows, my memory works as well as my periods (almost non-existent).
The 2nd reason is far more insidious, apart from the Forensic Services waiting list that is longer than the length of New Zealand (the people who the Judge refers to for mental health assessments) it’s becoming increasingly clear to me that the people involved in the Justice system are actually floundering around the serious inadequacies of NZ law in relation to people with disabilities. By this I mean everyone. Lawyers, Judge, Forensic Services, all of them. This inadequacy is shameful.
From the last 7 month’s I have a bucket load of examples of the failures of this system. I’m going to share them here.