Date: 
Monday 16 July 2018

Disability Discrimination Commissioner Alastair McEwin released a report today, A Future Without Violence: Quality, safeguarding and oversight to prevent and address violence against people with disability in institutional settings.

Commissioner McEwin said that violence against people with disability in institutional settings is a significant social policy issue in Australia.

“More than 4.3 million Australians have a disability. They experience violence at a higher rate than other people in the community. People receiving disability services in institutional settings are even more vulnerable to violence,” Commissioner McEwin said.

With the rollout of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) underway, this report comes as the disability sector is undergoing significant national reform. The report sheds light on the challenges inherent to that reform process and provides an independent assessment of quality, safeguarding and oversight frameworks as they are transitioned from the states and territories to the Commonwealth Government.

Drawing on evidence gathered in consultation with disability organisations, disability advocacy groups, government, industry, academia and independent research, the report identifies essential elements to effective quality, safeguarding and oversight mechanisms:

  • human rights-based approach
  • a connected and integrated
  • independent oversight and monitoring
  • robust prevention and response elements
  • accessibility for people with disability
  • continuous systems improvement through data

The report makes a series of recommendations regarding the incorporation of these elements in the disability and mainstream sectors and in relation to the NDIS, including:

  • increasing collaborative efforts between the Commonwealth, state and territory governments
  • increasing publicly available information, and its dissemination, about the operation of quality, safeguarding and oversight mechanisms

Commissioner McEwin said that, if implemented, these recommendations will help prevent and address violence against people with disability in institutional settings.

“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.”