Research, Inquiry, Government reports

Psychotropic medication, behaviour support and behaviours of concern

The report analyses and summarises the evidence presented during public hearing 6.  It suggests that psychotropic medication, which are drugs that affect a person’s mind, emotions or behaviour, is being over-prescribed to people with cognitive disability to deal with what are commonly described as ‘behaviours of concern’. Medical evidence along with observations from family and carers indicate people with cognitive disability often experience serious negative consequences from using psychotropic medication And there is not much evidence to support the effectiveness of psychotropic medication as a way to address behaviours of concern

A New National Disability Strategy: Stage 2 Consultation Reports

The Stage 2 consultations sought feedback from the public on the governments’ proposals for the new National Disability Strategy. There are 3 Stage 2 consultation reports which are available in a variety of accessible formats including Auslan, Easy Read, Braille and language translations. The Australian Government, along with state and territory governments and the Australian Local Government Association, is using the results of the consultations to inform development of the new National Disability Strategy for release in the second half of 2021.

Disability Support Workers: COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy and communication needs

In Victoria’s second wave, we saw COVID-19 outbreaks in over 60 group homes. Achieving high-levels of vaccination among workers is critical if people with disability are to be protected against COVID-19. Between March and April 2021 300 Disability Support Workers were asked about their vaccine intentions, who they trust to provide information, and other concerns that they have. This report presents the findings from the survey.

Adaptable housing for people with disability in Australia: a scoping study (2021)

In Australia, 4.4 million people live with disability, and 96% of people with disability live in private homes. Many existing homes are inaccessible and finding appropriate housing remains a challenge for many Australians with disability. Improving housing accessibility can and should be achieved in two ways: by ensuring that new homes are constructed to meet minimum accessibility requirements; and by modification or adaptation of existing homes, which is the focus of this report.

Overview of responses to the Rights and attitudes Issues paper

People with disability are often called ‘inferior’, ‘a burden’, or ‘a menace’. They say people assume they are ‘of no value’, ‘not fully human’, ‘objects of pity’, ‘eternal children’ or ‘better off dead’. Many respondents talked about the long term harm such language can have and how this language reflects the ingrained attitudes and discrimination which still exists in Australia towards people with disability.

Summary of responses to restrictive practice issues paper

Restrictive practices limit a person’s rights or freedom of movement and come in various forms. Seclusion, such as locking someone in a room, using restraints like handcuffing someone to a bed or medicating someone to control their behaviour are all examples of restrictive practice. Respondents said restrictive practices can have negative effects on people with disability. This includes trauma, poor health, shorter lifespan and death. They said using restrictive practices can be degrading and cruel. Their use can create a culture which does not value people with disability, and make denying them their rights seem normal.

Summary of responses to employment issues paper

Disability Employment Services (DES) were singled out and concerns were raised about their design and implementation.  Some responses said the very service that was established to help people with disability find and keep a job, is falling far short of what it was set up to do. Responders described how some DES consultants didn’t have specialised disability knowledge or qualifications, and didn’t act in their client’s best interest. 

Disability housing: what does good look like?

Access to appropriate and affordable housing is a key driver to enable people with disability to be full and equal participants in society. Yet while the stock of specialist disability housing has grown over the last few years,2 the sector’s understanding of how these homes facilitate better outcomes once tenants have moved in has remained limited. This outcomes framework was developed to help better understand the impact of housing and in-home supports on the lives of people with disability.

Participant outcomes report

This data report measures the progress of participants since joining the Scheme up to June 2020.  It offers a unique view into how the NDIS is benefiting participants as well as helping identify areas that may need additional focus. There are four different versions of the outcomes framework questionnaires, corresponding to four participant age groups.  Where relevant, the baseline and the longitudinal reports have analysed the impact of COVID-19 on outcome indicators.

Nature and extent of violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation against people with disability in Australia’ report

From the information gathered in this report it is clear that people with disability remain at much greater risk of experiencing physical violence than people without disability. In the last year women with disability were more than twice as likely to report sexual violence as women without disability. A quarter of young people with disability reported violence in the last year compared to 11% of those in older age groups. And people with cognitive and psychological impairments reported higher rates of all types of violence compared to people with other types of impairments.

Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System: Final Report

This report finds that Victoria’s mental health system operates in crisis mode, has “catastrophically failed to live up to expectations” and must be rebuilt. Demand has now overtaken the capacity of the system. Among the final report’s 65 recommendations, outlined in a mammoth five-volume report, are the phasing out of seclusion and restraints treatments over the next decade, and making compulsory treatments an option of last resort.

Decision Time: Activating the rights of adults with cognitive disability

The report focuses on matters relevant to people with cognitive disabilities, including mental health and neurological disabilities, which may affect their ability to make decisions without support. The 25 recommendations support reform to improve laws and practices and reduce the impact these laws have on people with cognitive disabilities. Such reforms will enable Australia to meet its obligations under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Decision Time: Activating the rights of adults with cognitive disability

This landmark report calls for reforms that will ensure full human rights for the four million Australians with disability, including prisoners. It aims to ensure Australia fully meets its United Nations obligations for people with disability within five years By setting out what all Australian governments need to do to ensure people with disability receive their legal entitlements.

Final Report: Care, Dignity and Respect,

The Final Report calls for fundamental reform of the aged care system. Royal Commissioners Tony Pagone QC and Lynelle Briggs AO make 148 wide-ranging recommendations in their Report, which comprises 5 volumes. The report finds that the extent of substandard care in Australia’s aged care system reflects both poor quality on the part of some … Continued

Government Response

The Government supports, or supports-in-principle, 26 of the recommendations made in the Committee’s report. Given the ongoing reforms to the planning process being progressed by the NDIA, the Government notes the Committee’s remaining 16 recommendations and provides information on the key initiatives underway and planned to address them.