13th March 2019
Abuse, assault and neglect of people with disability is abhorrent.
As the Disability Services Commissioner, I welcome the decision to establish a Royal Commission into abuse of people with disability and the release of the draft terms of reference for consultation.
Too many people with disability have been abused. We have all heard the stories, and my office has reviewed and investigated too many cases where people with disability have been abused, assaulted, neglected, and otherwise badly treated.
It happens when people and society see people with disability as ‘lesser than’, when there are power imbalances in both paid and unpaid relationships, and when people with disability are isolated and not afforded the opportunity to speak up. It can happen in disability services, in family homes and other community settings.
It happens too often. It cannot be tolerated.
I will be contributing to the draft Terms of Reference for the Royal Commission, released today, and I encourage others to do the same. We can all contribute to building a safer and more respectful culture, society and services for people with disability.
Finally, I take this opportunity to urge those involved in planning for the Royal Commission to consider how they can appropriately include and support people with disability prior, during and after this process.
Disability Services Commissioner
13 March 2019