With the upcoming Royal Commission into the disability sector expected to uncover horrific instances of violence, neglect and abuse against people with disability, one organisation is helping people with disability stay safe through practical workshops.
The Staying Safe Project, run by Victorian Advocacy League for Individuals with Disability (VALID) is helping inform and safeguard people with disability from neglect and financial, sexual, emotional and physical abuse.
Commencing in 2015, the sessions run for 90 minutes and include eleven videos covering what abuse and neglect is, how to get help and how to help others remain safe.
VALID Staying Safe Project team members Jon Slingsby and Zoe Broadway conduct the information sessions all over Victoria in conjunction with National Disability Services’ Zero Tolerance Project and say it’s important to let the community know abuse and neglect is not okay.
“The Staying Safe information sessions are extremely important especially for people who are feeling unsafe or who witness other people being unsafe,” Mr Slingsby says.
“People with disability need to know about abuse and neglect so that they do something about it if it happens to them.”
Miss Broadway says the Staying Safe Project is delivered by staff who have many years’ experience of working with people with learning disabilities and are able to handle the confronting topics in a sensitive and respectful way.
“It can be a difficult conversation at the best of times, but if people don’t feel okay about speaking up about abuse and neglect then it will never end.”
Mr Slingsby says feedback and interaction from each information session has been “very positive.”
“It is important to know what abuse and neglect looks like, how it might make you feel and to not be scared to speak up about it, how to start the conversation.
“It is also important to listen to your body, if something makes you feel uncomfortable, speak to someone you trust.
“Finally, we as a community need to do something about abuse and neglect, we need to make it stop!”
For more information on the Staying Safe workshops you can contact Mr Slingsby on 03 9416 4003 or email [email protected]
You can also watch some of the Staying Safe videos here.