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FLPN Webinar – Experiences of Neurodiversity in Family Law

March 23 @ 11:30 am 1:00 pm

Please join the National Family Law Pathways Network for a lunchtime webinar exploring the concept of neurodiversity in the context of Family Law.

Scientific research, clinical practice and biographical testimony demonstrate that neuro-conditions are very different from one to another, and also exist on a broad spectrum. Clients of the courts include individuals with Autism and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder amongst other presentations, and every neurodiverse individual and family has to overcome different hurdles as they move through the legal system. It is a challenge to translate this neuro- complexity into law. Advocates, researchers, and neurodiverse individuals are calling for legal entities and support services to better understand neurodiverse people, and reconsider bias and misconceptions that are a hindrance to better outcomes in family law and other legal cases.
During this webinar sociologist Judy Singer will be joined by researcher and lawyer Elena Campbell, to discuss what the term neurodiversity means, and present research regarding how our current legal system serves neurodiverse people and their families, including experiences of the legal system as confusing and challenging to navigate.


Judy Singer is an Australian sociologist who coined the term “Neurodiversity” in a 1998 Honours Thesis at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS). Her work was based on her lived experience in the middle of three generations of women “somewhere on the autistic spectrum” and built on the achievements of the Disability Rights Movement and its academic arm, Disability Studies. Judy has been active in community organizing since the 1990s, both in the local Sydney region and internationally via social media, with a focus on public housing advocacy and disability rights. Judy was the secretary of Sydney’s major parent’s group, the Inner West Autism and Asperger’s Support Group. When her daughter outgrew this group, Judy moved on to co-found ASteen, Sydney’s only independent social club for teenagers on the spectrum.

Elena Campbell is a researcher, lawyer, speechwriter and former political staffer who has worked in legal and social policy for over 20 years. Elena’s expertise includes therapeutic justice, women’s criminalisation, equal opportunity and human rights, as well as the prevention and elimination of violence against women and children. At the CIJ Elena oversees a program of research that predominantly focuses on family violence, as well as the way in which experiences of trauma can push women and children into contact with the criminal justice system. In this capacity, Elena has led projects for Government departments and courts to support the implementation of recommendations from Victoria’s Royal Commission into Family Violence. Elena has been involved in ANROWS funded projects focusing on interventions with adult perpetrators of family violence. She is also the lead researcher in a program of research focusing on young people’s use of violence at home, including the capacity of legal and service systems to respond to the complexity of need across families and communities, as well as where neurodiversity or the impacts of trauma can mean that experiences of the legal system can be confusing and challenging.

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