People with Disability at Greater Risk of Violence During NDIS Transition
17 July 2018 at 5:39 pm
People with disability will be at greater risk of violence during the National Disability Insurance Scheme transition until certain ambiguities are resolved, an Australian Human Rights Commission report says.
The report released on Monday said it was essential states and territories maintained relevant quality, safeguarding and oversight mechanisms until the Commonwealth completely rolled out the NDIS in their jurisdiction.
There was still “a significant level of uncertainty” about resolving a number of key issues regarding the transition to the Commonwealth, the report said.
“Until ambiguities are resolved, state and territory governments will not know what quality, safeguarding and oversight mechanisms they need to maintain to ensure that effective protections are available to prevent and address violence for all people with disability in institutional settings,” the report said.
NDIS stakeholders had expressed concerns about potential service gaps during the transition.
The report recommended all governments increase collaborative efforts to avoid any such gaps.
It also recommended the Commonwealth and the NDIS Commission increase the amount of publicly available information about the operation of current and future quality, safeguarding and oversight mechanisms.
Disability discrimination commissioner Alastair McEwin said if implemented these recommendations would help prevent and address violence.
“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,” McEwin said.
I am pleased to announce the release of ‘A Future Without Violence: Quality, safeguarding and oversight to prevent and address violence against people with disability in institutional settings' #PWDhttps://t.co/G1Asip4Cgo
— Alastair McEwin (@almcewinddc) July 15, 2018
The report noted that 18 per cent of people with disability reported being victims of physical or threatened violence compared to 10 per cent of people without disability, but acknowledged that widespread underreporting meant this figure was likely to be higher.
People with disability in institutional settings were found to be particularly vulnerable to violence due to the closed nature of some institutional settings, social isolation and a lack of access to advocacy services.
In response to the report, Labor Senator and shadow minister for disability and carers Carol Brown renewed calls for the establishment of a royal commission into violence and abuse against people with disability.
“Only a royal commission can bring justice to victims and the friends and families of victims,” Brown said.