Melbourne Public Hearing – Disability Royal Commission Update

Posted: December 8, 2019

Held from 2nd to 6th December, the Melbourne public hearing of the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability focused on ‘homes and living for people with disability in Victoria, and…the experiences of people who have lived or are currently living in group homes.’

The hearing opened with four people who had lived in group homes, raising concerning issues such as;

  • violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation,
  • personal struggles against an ‘unresponsive system’,
  • failure to inform family members of injuries occurring in the group home setting, and
  • The problems experienced because of the ‘standardisation of support’ in the sector.

Advocates who previously lived in supported accommodation provided feedback, comparing their experience to now living independently. The advocates commented that people with disability often fear repercussions from speaking up about abuse and exploitation.

Academic experts and government representatives commented on the need for change in the sector, and that there is a real lack of consideration around living preferences.

When examining the governance of disability organisations, the Commission heard that there are a number of concerns across the sector, including people living in group homes ‘often not knowing or understanding their rights, or being conditioned not to complain’, the lack of housing options available, and people with disability not having an appropriate level of control over their choice in support provider and where they live.

The final day of the hearing saw a number of advocates, scholars and people with disability recounting their experiences of the quality of support in group homes, serious concerns about accessible housing options and that Australian law does not adequately reflect the United Nation’s Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability.

The next Disability Royal Commission will be held in Western Sydney in February 2020.

Interaction welcomes feedback and concerns from our participants, families, carers and staff. Our complaint form can be accessed here, with an easy-read policy to assist if needed. As always, you can contact us anytime on 1300 668 123, or info@interactionservices.org

If you need help providing feedback, you can ask any of our staff to help, or contact the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission to get advice on 1800 035 544 (TTY 133 677) or visit their website on www.ndiscommission.gov.au.

The Australian Government is providing free advocacy support services for people with disability. Advocates can provide advice, act on your behalf to access supports and help protect your rights. You can learn more by visiting their website here, or email disabilityadvocacy@dss.gov.au.

The Council for Intellectual Disability has published easy-read information about the Royal Commission. Click here to access the easy-read articles.