DRC Media and Communications
The Royal Commission on Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability has published an Overview of responses to promoting inclusion issues paper.
The issues paper was released on 4 December 2020 and asked a series of questions on what should be done to promote a more inclusive society that supports the independence of people with disability and their right to live free from violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation.
The Royal Commission received 74 responses that expressed a range of views which will inform the Royal Commission’s work. Responses to the issues paper reflected on the meaning of inclusion and identified core characteristics of an inclusive society. Responses described an inclusive society as one that:
Recognises and enforces human rights
Adopts meaningful practices of co-production and co-design
Embeds universal design to ensure full accessibility
Provides culturally competent and safe services
Recognises the social model of disability, and
Promotes a sense of belonging.
Many respondents described inclusion as a human right and noted that an inclusive society is one in which all members are treated equally and provided with equal opportunities.
Autism Spectrum Australia ( Aspect ) wrote “…the lack of knowledge, awareness of diverse needs, and mandated drivers for inclusive human rights recognition entrenched in Australian law has resulted in an Australian society that is currently far from inclusive, and often not even accessible.” The responses identified the following barriers to a more inclusive society for people with disabilities;
Law, policies and practices
Community attitudes and behaviours
Intersectional barriers such as race, gender, age and sexuality
Segregation and exclusion
Physical and environmental barriers
Respondents also identified barriers experienced by people with disabilities in specific settings and systems including, education, employment, health and the National Disability Insurance Scheme.
Queensland Advocacy Incorporated wrote; “The exclusion of people with disability is directly correlated with an increased risk of violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation.
People who are isolated and separated from the wider community are subject to fewer safeguards and protective oversight ‘from the gaze of citizens' and are therefore more vulnerable to acts of abuse and violence.”
Proposals for change
Respondents to the issues paper made many proposals for change. The proposals for change are broadly grouped into the following categories:
Nothing about us without us
Changing attitudes and behaviours
Providing access to safe and quality services
Strengthening oversight and accountability
Measuring and monitoring performance towards inclusion.