Resources

Stronger privacy protections for disability royal commission

Disability advocates are welcoming strengthened privacy protections for people who testify at the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability. New legislation will protect the identity of those who make written submissions to the Royal Commission even after the final report is delivered.

Legislation and regulation in Australia: Children and young people with disability in primary and secondary education settings’.

The report provides a general description of how Commonwealth funding for education operates; a detailed explanation of how laws regulating education for students with disability function in each jurisdiction; and an examination of each jurisdiction’s anti-discrimination laws as they apply to education (including the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (Cth) and the Disability Standards for Education 2005 issued under that Act.)

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

Disability groups welcome royal commission extension

The Morrison government has announced it is extending the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability by 17 months, following strong campaigning from the sector.

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. 

Counselling and advocacy support for the Disability Royal Commission

Dr Cathy Kezelman, President at Blue Knot Foundation and Mary Mallett, CEO of  Disability Advocacy Network Australia (DANA), talk about counselling,support and referral pathways and where advocacy fits into this crucial work. The important work of the Disability Royal Commission is bringing to light the deeply rooted systemic abuse facing people with disability. As we have heard, the abuse is happening in all areas of life – in the home, in education and employment settings, and within the health and services systems. Almost more confronting than the abuse itself is the apparent indifference of people in power and the general public more broadly who have allowed the abuse to continue. Despite lifetimes of not being heard, people with disability are being asked to step up and tell their stories in the hope that this time they will be believed and that things will change. To do this, people with disability need support.