On 11 February 2015, the Senate referred the following matter to the Senate Community Affairs References Committee for inquiry and report:

Violence, abuse and neglect against people with disability in institutional and residential settings, including the gender and age related dimensions, and the particular situation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability, and culturally and linguistically diverse people with disability.

The terms of reference are:

  1. the experiences of people directly or indirectly affected by violence, abuse and neglect perpetrated against people with disability in institutional and residential contexts;
  2. the impact of violence, abuse and neglect on people with disability, their families, advocates, support persons, current and former staff and Australian society as a whole;
  3. the incidence and prevalence of all forms of violence, abuse and neglect perpetrated against people with disability in institutional and residential settings;
  4. the responses to violence, abuse and neglect against people with disability, as well as to whistleblowers, by every organisational level of institutions and residential settings, including governance, risk management and reporting practices;
  5. the different legal, regulatory, policy, governance and data collection frameworks and practices across the Commonwealth, states and territories to address and prevent violence, abuse and neglect against people with disability;
  6. Australia’s compliance with its international obligations as they apply to the rights of people with disability;
  7. role and challenges of formal and informal disability advocacy in preventing and responding to violence, abuse and neglect against people with disability;
  8. what should be done to eliminate barriers for responding to violence, abuse and neglect perpetrated against people with disability in institutional and residential settings, including addressing failures in, and barriers to, reporting, investigating and responding to allegations and incidents of violence and abuse;
  9. what needs to be done to protect people with disability from violence, abuse and neglect in institutional and residential settings in the future, including best practice in regards to prevention, effective reporting and responses;
  10. identifying the systemic workforce issues contributing to the violence, abuse and neglect of people with disability and how these can be addressed;
  11. the role of the Commonwealth, states and territories in preventing violence and abuse against people with disability;
  12. the challenges that arise from moving towards an individualised funding arrangement, like the National Disability Insurance Scheme, including the capacity of service providers to identify, respond to and prevent instances of violence, abuse and neglect against people with disability; and
  13. what elements are required in a national quality framework that can safeguard people with disability from violence, abuse and neglect in institutional and residential settings.

2. That for this inquiry:

  1. ‘institutional and residential settings’ is broadly defined to include the types of institutions that people with disability often experience, including, but not restricted to: residential institutions; boarding houses; group homes; workplaces; respite care services; day centres; recreation programs; mental health facilities; hostels; supported accommodation; prisons; schools; out-of-home care; special schools; boarding schools; school buses; hospitals; juvenile justice facilities; disability services; and aged care facilities; and
  2. ‘violence, abuse and neglect’ is broadly understood to include, but is not limited to: domestic, family and interpersonal violence; physical and sexual violence and abuse; psychological or emotional harm and abuse; constraints and restrictive practices; forced treatments and interventions; humiliation and harassment; financial abuse; violations of privacy; systemic abuse; physical and emotional neglect; passive neglect; and wilful deprivation.

Submissions were sought by 29 June 2015. The reporting date is 24 June 2015. On 25 March 2015, the Senate granted an extension of time for reporting until 16 September 2015. On 9 September 2015, the Senate granted an extension of time for reporting until 11 November 2015.  On 11 November 2015, the Senate granted an extension of time for reporting until 25 November 2015.

Easy English guide to this inquiry (PDF 813KB)

Easy English guide to making a submission (PDF 751KB)



Past Public Hearings

16 Oct 2015: Brisbane, QLD
28 Aug 2015: Adelaide, SA
27 Aug 2015: Sydney Airport, NSW

more...

Report

Violence, abuse and neglect against people with disability in institutional and residential settings, including the gender and age related dimensions, and the particular situation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability, and culturally and linguistically diverse people with disability

25 November 2015

© Commonwealth of Australia 2015
ISBN 978-1-76010-310-1

View the report as a single document - (PDF 2857KB)


View the report as separate downloadable parts:

MEMBERSHIP OF THE COMMITTEE (PDF 27KB)
ABBREVIATIONS (PDF 23KB)
LIST OF RECOMMENDATIONS (PDF 174KB)

A Royal Commission
National disability complaints mechanism
National workforce and workplace regulation
Access to justice
State and Territory reporting and investigating
The right to self-determination
The right to risk
Counselling and support services
Advocacy
National Disability Insurance Scheme
Restrictive practice
Housing options
Schools
Recognition of disability in protective policy
Data
International Human Rights

Executive Summary (PDF 292KB)
Chapter 1 - Introduction (PDF 110KB)

Establishment of the inquiry
The structure of the report
Key concepts
Figure 1.1: All Persons, Disability status and living arrangements

Chapter 2 - International and national frameworks (PDF 254KB)

Australia's international law obligations
Commonwealth, state and territory roles and responsibilities
Figure 2.1: National Disability Agreement Specific Purpose Payments, states and territories, 2014–19.
Oversight and complaints reporting mechanisms
Recent disability‑related inquiries and reports
Data on violence, abuse and neglect

Chapter 3 - Lived experience of violence, abuse and neglect (PDF 431KB)

Introduction
Experiences of violence, abuse and neglect: General community
Experiences of violence, abuse and neglect: Institutions and residential settings
Experiences of violence, abuse and neglect: Schools
Image 1: Child with autism being physically restrained in a purpose built chair.
Concluding committee view

Chapter 4 - Disability-specific interventions (PDF 442KB)

Introduction
Defining legal incapacity
Disability specific lawful violence
Guardianship
Restrictive Practice
Table 4.1: Summary of relevant legislation and policies relating to the use of restrictive practices in all Australian jurisdictions
Image 4.1: A "safe room" in use at a Victorian public school at time of submission to inquiry
Image 4.2: A fenced seclusion area visible from the school playground

Chapter 5 - Reporting and investigating (PDF 316KB)

Reporting allegations of abuse, violence and neglect
Table 5.1: Reporting requirements of serious or critical incidents for funded disability service providers
Table 5.2: External complaints, investigation/dispute resolution bodies for people with disability
Figure 5.1: Disability Act complaint pathways in Victoria
Table 5.3: Community visitor programs by jurisdiction

Chapter 6 - Access to justice (PDF 220KB)

Access to justice
Barriers and challenges
Strategies to address barriers
Needs of specific groups

Chapter 7 - Advocacy (PDF 212KB)

Table 7.1: Real government direct service delivery expenditure on advocacy, information and print disability services, 2013-14 ($'000)
Self-advocacy
Informal Advocacy
Advocacy under the NDIS

Chapter 8 - Risk factors and causes (PDF 212KB)

Systemic issues
Cultural attitudes
Individual worker issues
Individual workplace issues

Chapter 9 - National Disability Insurance Scheme (PDF 157KB)

NDIS coverage
Self-directed disability support
Unit pricing
Consultation paper on a quality and safeguarding framework

Chapter 10 - Recommendations (PDF 83KB)

Headline recommendations
Other recommendations

Additional Comments—Coalition Senators (PDF 9KB)
APPENDIX 1 - Submissions and additional information received by the Committee (PDF 49KB)
APPENDIX 2 - Public hearings (PDF 23KB)
APPENDIX 3 - Summary of key recommendations from previous reports (PDF 53KB)

Australian Law Reform Commission
Australian Human Rights Commission
Productivity Commission

Committee Secretariat contact:

Committee Secretary
Senate Standing Committees on Community Affairs
PO Box 6100
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600

Phone: +61 2 6277 3515
Fax: +61 2 6277 5829
community.affairs.sen@aph.gov.au

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