A new report released by the Australian Human Rights Commission addresses the prevalence of violence against people with disability in institutional settings.
The report, titled A Future Without Violence: Quality, Safeguarding and oversight to prevent and address violence against people with disability in institutional settings was released on Monday 16 July by Disability Discrimination Commissioner, Alastair McEwin.
Commissioner McEwin says more than 4.3 million Australians have a disability and the violence against people receiving support from institutions is a significant social policy issue.
“They [people with disability] experience violence at a higher rate than other people in the community.”
The report comes following major reform within the disability sector, including the roll-out of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and sheds light on the challenges brought by the reform.
Created following consultation with disability organisations, disability advocacy groups, Government, industry, academia and independent research, it highlights the key elements to protect people with disability from violence.
These quality, safeguarding and oversight mechanisms include:
Human rights-based approach
Connected and integrated
Independent oversight and monitoring
Robust prevention and response elements
Continuous systems improvement through data
The report also includes a series of recommendations, including increasing collaborative efforts between the Commonwealth, State and Territory Governments and increasing publicly available information and its dissemination about the operation of quality, safeguarding and oversight mechanisms.
“Building the knowledge and capacity of people with disability to recognise instances of violence, understand their rights and effectively engage with these mechanisms is a fundamental element of achieving change and something that must happen in addition to implementing the recommendations of this report.”
“It is my sincere hope that this report will prompt intensified efforts to strengthen quality, safeguarding and oversight mechanisms so we can move towards a future where people with disability can live their lives free from violence,” Commissioner McEwin says.
He says the report will “pave the way” for an important conversation about this horrific issue.