Violence against people with disability is a national shame

27 August 2015

Today, the Australian Cross Disability Alliance will appear before the Senate Committee inquiring into violence, abuse and neglect against people with disability in institutional and residential settings.

The Senate Inquiry process has already revealed many hundreds of horrific stories that testify to the significantly high levels and myriad forms of violence experienced by people with disability in institutional and residential settings. The ‘closed’ nature of these settings, away from public scrutiny, means that this violence is very difficult to detect, investigate and prosecute.

“The Australian Cross Disability Alliance (ACDA) 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”, said Ms Carolyn Frohmader, CEO of Women With Disabilities Australia (WWDA) and ACDA member.

The ACDA welcomes the opportunity to present today in support of its comprehensive submission to the Inquiry. The submission details wide ranging systemic failures in legislation, policies and service systems in Australia that underpin the conditions that give rise to violence abuse and neglect.

The ACDA will also table testimonials and stories from hundreds of people with disability who do not have the necessary supports, the relevant information or the extensive process required to facilitate and support them coming forward to provide evidence directly to the Senate Committee.

ACDA makes 30 recommendations in its submission, but will highlight 3 key recommendations in a Call to Action:

1. We call for a Royal Commission into violence, abuse and neglect against people with disability in Australia.

2. We call for an overhaul of the criminal justice system so that, at every step of the process people with disability are supported in accessing the same legal protections and redress as the rest of the community.

3. We call for the establishment of an independent national statutory watchdog to protect, investigate and enforce findings regarding violence, abuse and neglect against people with disability.

Damian Griffis, CEO of First Peoples Disability Network (FPDN) and ACDA member said: “The Australian Cross Disability Alliance stands united in our Call to Action. Enough is enough. We must 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 urgent national leadership to establish a Royal Commission”.

Media: Ryan Young, ryany@pwd.org.au or 0408 682 867

Public Hearing details When: Thursday 27 August, 8:30am-5:15pm (ACDA will appear at 2:15pm) Where: Mascot A Room at the Stamford Plaza Hotel, Sydney Airport, O’Riordan St & Robey Streets, Mascot

For further information

* End the Violence campaign website

* National Disability Abuse Inquiry website

About the Australian Cross Disability Alliance The ACDA is a national representative body, made up of four disabled people’s organisations(organisa tions made up of and led by people with disability):

* First Peoples Disability Network Australia (FPDN)

* National Ethnic Disability Alliance (NEDA)

* People with Disability Australia (PWDA)

* Women with Disabilities Australia (WWDA).