The Australian Cross Disability Alliance (ACDA) welcomes the Senate Community Affairs Committee’s report and recommendations following its ‘Inquiry into Violence Against People with Disability in Institutional and Residential Settings’, tabled late yesterday.
The Senate Inquiry provided a vital platform for people with disability and their representative bodies to tell their stories and have their voices heard.
The ACDA submission and subsequent appearance before the Committee detailed wide ranging systemic failures in legislation, policies and service systems that underpin the conditions that give rise to violence, abuse and neglect.
ACDA calls on all sides of politics to act swiftly to implement the recommendations.
A number of key recommendations reflect those made by ACDA in its comprehensive submission to the Inquiry, which include:
- A Royal Commission into violence, abuse and neglect of people with disability, with terms of reference to be determined in consultation with people with disability, their families and supporters, and disability organisations;
- The Australian Government consider the establishment of a national system for reporting, investigating and eliminating violence, abuse and neglect of people with a disability;
- The Australian Government work with state and territory governments on the implementation of initiatives to improve access to justice for people with disability;
- Each state and territory to implement a Disability Justice Plan;
- The Australian Government consider amending a number of protective policies to include the specific needs of people with disability, to ensure that people with disability are afforded the full range of rights protections that are available to people without disability.
The Senate Inquiry process revealed many hundreds of horrific stories, testimony to the significantly high levels and myriad forms of violence experienced by people with disability in institutional and residential settings.
Ms Carolyn Frohmader, CEO of Women With Disabilities Australia (WWDA) said: "The Australian Cross Disability Alliance knows that these stories are just the tip of the iceberg and are indicative of a widespread and far-reaching problem. It is not limited to a few rogue individuals, it is not confined to disability support settings, and it is not confined by state or territory borders. It is a national epidemic, and it warrants urgent national leadership from the Australian Government to address it.”
Ms Therese Sands, Co-CEO of People with Disability Australia (PWDA) said: "The Australian Cross Disability Alliance stands united. Enough is enough. This is our nation’s opportunity to show those that have been failed by the system that they deserve justice. The significant level of violence perpetrated against people with disability in institutional and residential settings warrants the establishment of a Royal Commission and we wholeheartedly support the recommendation made in the report.”