STATEMENT—Zero tolerance approach to abuse of people with a disability Disability Ageing and Carers

STATEMENT—Zero tolerance approach to abuse of people with a disability

woman with disability

VCOSS has welcomed the Victorian Government’s announcement of a ‘zero tolerance approach’ to abuse of people with a disability, in response to a recent parliamentary inquiry.

CEO Emma King said it was clear the government had recognised the urgent need for enhancement of current services and systems of oversight and advocacy.

“The strengthening of legislation and increased oversight powers – including greater functions for the Disability Services Commissioner – is an important measure in order to better protect vulnerable people with disability.

“These are many positive measures in the government’s response,” Ms King said.

“But this repugnant issue of abuse is unlikely to be solved in a mere twelve months and it is vital that the short-term, one-off funding is backed up by a long-term financial commitment by the government.”

Ms King said the training for Community Visitors to be able to identify and report abuse was an important step toward ensuring abuse and neglect is reported early so it can be addressed swiftly.

“Whether due to lack of know-how, accessibility or fear of consequences, people with disability – and their carers and family – have faced difficulties in making a complaint about abuse or neglect. This is unacceptable. No-one deserves to be abused, or to live in silence and fear of reporting that abuse.

Ms King noted how the introduction of the National Disability Insurance Scheme is expected to increase the workforce in disability services substantially over the next few years.

“This growth potentially increases the risk of abuse or neglect for people with disability since inappropriate people may be employed to provide services.

“A new code of conduct, training review and resources, and independent worker registration and accreditation scheme will be essential in helping build the workforce’s knowledge, skills and suitability for the job.”

Ms King said VCOSS looked forward to working with its member organisations and the government on making the announced measures a reality.

“Quite simply, all people with disability have the right to be free from violence, abuse and exploitation, just the same as every Australian.”

Image: Flickr CC lafleur