Media Release: QDN welcomes bi-partisan support for Royal Commission into abuse and neglect and urges Government to act now

Queenslanders with Disability Network (QDN) welcomes long awaited bi-partisan support for a Royal Commission into violence, abuse, exploitation and neglect of people with disability. “After many years of calling for action to address this critical issue QDN is delighted that, finally, the Government has listened to the voice of people with disability, their families/carers and the sector and is supporting a Royal Commission.  We know from research and documented evidence that people with disability experience high levels of abuse, violence and neglect in their lives, and it is important that this is investigated at the highest level of inquiry through a Royal Commission,” said Mr Nigel Webb, QDN Board of Directors Chairperson.

QDN urges government to dedicate the resources needed to such an inquiry so that it can commence a timely and considered implementation as soon as possible. “People have been subjected to abuse, violence and neglect for too long”.  Mr Webb said, “The time to act is now to prevent further abuse and neglect and really address this issue across all of Australian society.  QDN is calling for a budget commitment which allows for the commission to effectively engage with people with a range of communication needs, and ensures people with disability are included in the planning and design of the Terms of Reference.”

A strong Term of Reference, which is inclusive of all kinds of violence, abuse, exploitation and neglect, and which allows for all people with disability to have a voice, without causing further trauma, absolutely must be an outcome. Furthermore, the Terms of Reference needs to be broad so that it covers the wide variety of places, environments, and settings where people with disability live and receive services and supports.

QDN CEO, Paige Armstrong said, “We know that people with disability, particularly those living in a group environment or congregate care are at higher risk of being abused. Our community and our Governments have a responsibility to understand the experiences of people with disability, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and to provide adequate responses that ensure the safety of all people”. People with disability have a right to be safe and live a life free from abuse, violence and neglect, especially when this is perpetrated by the people who have responsibility and a duty of care to support these individuals.

In Queensland, and across the country, reforms and changes associated with the NDIS have added additional attention, focus, time, and resources for people with disability, families/carers and the sector. It is critical that Government give the consideration, financial resources and time to ensure all parts of the sector have the right resources, time and support to participate in this Commission, and not deliver unintended consequences to a very fatigued sector in Queensland.  QDN CEO, Paige Armstrong said yesterday “The human rights of all Australians must be upheld and it is important going into a Federal Election to get commitment to this Royal Commission. QDN looks forward to working with all levels of Government in ensuring the voice of all Australians is heard and we continue to hold high the expectation for a considered and timely Royal Commission implementation.”

Contact: Paige Armstrong, CEO | 0408 720 099

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