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Law's treatment of persons with disabilities needs to change

The issue of limited sentencing options mentioned by Justice Woo Bih Li has been around for far too long and it is time for change (Teen's intellectual disability raises issue on lack of sentencing options: Judge; March 13).

Parents and caregivers of persons with disabilities, particularly invisible disabilities, have constantly shared their concerns over the lack of educated awareness of the issues facing their children in relation to the law.

Last year, as the then president of the Disabled People's Association, I gave a talk about the law to over 200 parents and parent support groups of invisible disabilities, and I was disheartened by how our case law treats persons with disabilities.

Suffice to say, the decision by Justice Woo is timely and I am thankful that the learned judge recognises that there are larger issues at stake, and I look forward to reading his written judgment.

I would therefore expect all stakeholders to work with the relevant authorities and look into this unsatisfactory state of affairs.

The current sentencing options are clearly very out of touch with the real-life issues of persons with disabilities who have been charged in court.

There is a dire need for change, and the change needs to take place now.

Nicholas Aw

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on March 18, 2018, with the headline 'Law's treatment of persons with disabilities needs to change'. Print Edition | Subscribe