A landmark report has been released to tell the lived experiences and stories of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability.
Launched by the First Peoples Disability Network (FPDN), Culture is inclusion: A narrative of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability has been brought to life following a two-year community-directed research project, led by Scott Avery.
“This research tells a story of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability that has been hidden until now,” he says.
Mr Avery who is also FPDN’s Research and Policy Director says many of the participants he engaged with said they had never been asked these questions before.
“One of the things that has stayed with me over the two years is the way the research has brought people together as a community, enabled their participation and assembled a bigger picture,” he says.
“There is a bigger message that comes from the research beyond what to do next. It is about the power of research to build communities.”
The research was undertaken across remote, regional and urban locations of Australia, combining statistical data with personal testimony.
Chairperson of FPDN, Aunty Gayle Rankine says the organisation is proud to lead the important project.
“For too long, our people with disability have been the subject of research and analysis of others. The publication of this research marks a new way forward with First People with disability, the active participants and contributors.”
The FPDN researchers worked alongside an academic advisory panel, internationally regarded researchers from UTS and UNSW and the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
Some key findings within the report include:
Disabilities in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities is twice as prevalent, more complex in terms of co-occurring disabilities and compressed within a shorter life expectancy, compared to other Australians.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability experience a unique form of ‘intersectional discrimination’ and social inequality.
Frequent exposures to various forms of discrimination can have cumulative impact and can manifest into ‘apprehended discrimination.’ This is a pathway in which a fear of discrimination transforms into a rational expectation of discrimination and it can lead to a person avoiding social situations where they could be exposed to possible discrimination.
The statistical date and testimony of participants show that intersectional inequality is acute and pervasive across all supports for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability; including disability services, health, education, employment housing and transport.
The impact of intersectional inequality has a detrimental impact upon the social health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability.
The only exception to inequalities experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability is their social participation within their communities, as this is on par with other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
A culture of inclusion is a moderating force on the social health and wellbeing and has a mitigating impact on intersectional inequality.
The report is available to purchase here.
For more information on disability support and services, please visit DisabilitySupportGuide.com.au