Submissions to Government Consultations & Processes 2011 – 2015

Women With Disabilities Australia (WWDA), NDIS Grassroots Discussion Group and WA NDIS/My Way Peer Support Group: NDIS Information Capacity and Linkages Co-Design Online Forum Report (November 2015)

On 1st November 2015 WWDA, along with a number of volunteers, facilitated an online forum to provide an opportunity for members to contribute to the National Disability Insurance Agency’s NDIS Information Linkages and Capacity Building framework (ILC) co-design process. The forum was a collaboration with the NDIS Grassroots Discussion Group and the WA NDIS/My Way Peer Support Group. Participants included representation from all the Australian States and Territories and from many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. The report compiles all participants responses in unedited form.

You can access the full report below:


Australian Cross Disability Alliance (ACDA): Submission to Inquiry into Violence, Abuse and Neglect against People with Disability in Institutional and Residential Settings (August 2015)

In August 2015 the Australian Cross Disability Alliance made a submission to the Australian Senate Inquiry into Violence, Abuse and Neglect against People with Disability in Institutional and Residential Settings. The Australian Cross Disability Alliance (ACDA) is a national representative body, made up of four Disabled People’s Organisations including Women with Disabilities Australia (WWDA); People with Disability Australia (PWDA); the National Ethnic Disability Alliance (NEDA); and, First Peoples Disability Network (FPDN).

Written by Carolyn Frohmader and Therese Sands and with the assistance of Dr Jess Cadwallader, the submission represents the culmination of more than two decades of people with disability and their allies campaigning and advocating for a national, independent inquiry to investigate violence and abuse against people with disability in institutional and residential settings.

The Submission includes as a accompanying document, a large number of personal stories and testimonies from people with disability, all of which have been de-identified for confidentiality purposes. These stories and testimonies are critical in illustrating the stark reality of violence in the lives of people with disability in institutional and residential settings, and in demonstrating that this violence cannot be dismissed as belonging to one institution, or one ‘type’ of institutional setting, or the fault of one ‘bad apple’. These stories and testimonies provide the human reality of the information provided in the body of this Submission.

ACDA made 30 recommendations in the Submission. Of these, the following three recommendations were particularly emphasised:

  1. A call for a Royal Commission into violence, abuse and neglect against people with disability in Australia.
  2. A call for an overhaul of the criminal justice system so that, at every step of the process people with disability are supported in accessing the same legal protections and redress as the rest of the community.
  3. A call for the establishment of an independent national statutory watchdog to protect, investigate and enforce findings regarding violence, abuse and neglect against people with disability.

You can access the full submission below:

 


 

Women With Disabilities Australia (WWDA) and People With Disability Australia (PWDA): Joint Submission to the Committee on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Draft General Comment on Article 6: Women with Disabilities

The Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in accordance with Rule 47 of its Rules of Procedure  and para. 54–57 of its Working Methods  may prepare General Comments  based on the various articles and provisions of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) with a view to assisting States Parties in fulfilling their reporting obligations. In 2015, the CRPD Committee released its Draft General Comment on Article 6 [Women with disabilities], based on that Rule. The CRPD Committee invited Women with Disabilities Australia (WWDA) and other interested parties to provide written input on the Draft General Comment on CRPD Article 6. 

Women With Disabilities Australia (WWDA) – the national cross-disability Disabled Person’s Organisation (DPO) for women and girls with all types of disability in Australia, and People With Disability Australia (PWDA) – the national DPO for all people with disability in Australia, elected to develop this joint Submission to the CRPD Committee in response to the Draft version of General Comment on CRPD Article 6.

The joint Submission from WWDA and PWDA is available for download from WWDA’s website in both Word and Pdf versions. The Submission also contains, as an Appendix, a copy of the Draft General Comment on CRPD Article 6.

Download the Submission in a Word format: Word

To download the Submission as a PDF format: PDF


People With Disability Australia (PWDA) and Women With Disabilities Australia (WWDA): ‘Consultation Paper – Proposal for a National Disability Insurance Scheme Quality and Safeguarding Framework’ (May 2015) [PDF] [Word]

In early 2015 the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) released a consultation paper regarding the development of a quality and safeguards framework for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). The purpose of the framework is to ensure that recipients of NDIS supports can make decisions about their supports while also enabling them to live free from abuse, neglect and exploitation. The aim of the framework is to promote innovation, continuous improvement and best practice in the provision of supports.

WWDA collaborated with People With Disability Australia (PWDA) on a submission to this consultation in May 2015. The joint submission addressed key overarching issues concerning the development of a comprehensive and rigorous NDIS Quality and Safeguarding framework that protects the rights and interests of all people with disability. In particular, WWDA and PWDA argued that the framework must be grounded in, and consistently apply, a human rights framework, informed by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability and related human rights instruments. WWDA and PWDA made ten recommendations, including:

1) The Q&S Framework must be embedded in a human rights framework;

2) The Q&S Framework must explicitly acknowledge ongoing legislative, policy and practice reform regarding the exercise of legal capacity for people with disability;

3) Stronger measures must be incorporated into the Q&S Framework that focus strongly and positively on promoting and supporting people to effectively assert and exercise legal capacity;

4) Supported decision-making must be integral to the Q&S Framework;

5) The Q&S Framework should include a principle, ‘Human Rights’ that states that achieving human rights for people with disability is paramount in the implementation and evaluation of the NDIS and the Q&S Framework;

6) An independent market regulation body focused on human rights should be established to monitor the NDIS market and its interactions with other markets;

7) The concept of ‘risk’ within the Q&S Framework must be clearly understood within a human rights framework;

8) The identification of high risk providers of support needs to be connected to the circumstances of the person, their interaction with different providers of support and the evidence regarding how, where and what creates risks for people with disability;

9) DPOs, independent advocacy and DSOs should continue to be block funded and receive increased recognition that they remain fundamental to quality and safeguarding for people with disability;

10) Establish an independent, statutory, national protection mechanism that has broad functions and powers to protect, investigate and enforce findings related to situations of exploitation, violence and abuse.

Copyright PWDA, WWDA, 2015.


Women With Disabilities Australia: ‘Submission to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) Development of a General Comment on the Rights of Adolescents’ (April 2015) [PDF] [Word]

In April 2015 WWDA made a submission to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) to inform the development of a General Comment on the rights of adolescents. The CRC Committee is a body of 18 independent experts that monitor the implementation of the CRC by States parties. General Comments are developed by such committees to clarify and expound articles contained in UN conventions and treaties. WWDA’s submission will contribute to informing a General Comment on the Rights of Adolescents under the CRC, from the perspective of women and girls with disabilities.


Women With Disabilities Australia: ‘Response to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) Framework for Information, Linkages and Capacity Building Consultation Paper’ (March 2015) [PDF] [Word]

In March 2015 WWDA contributed a brief submission to the NDIS Information, Linkages and Capacity Building (ILC) consultation. The ILC component on the NDIS (formerly known as ‘Tier 2′) provides systemic and community supports that compliment individually funded supports under the insurance scheme. WWDA’s submission included six recommendations, including: 1) The ILC must be gender cognizant and responsive across the five ILC activity streams; 2) ILC must acknowledge and build on the existing and unique capacities, strengths and resources of women and girls with a disability at local and systemic levels; 3) ILC must acknowledge and engage the capacity and rights for all people with a disability to lead the decision-making processes that affect their lives, consistent with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with a Disability (CPRD); 4) ILC must clearly distinguish between the needs, identities and rights of individuals with a disability, and the rights of families and carers in all aspects of design, implementation and evaluation; 5) Capacity building with mainstream organisations needs to foremost address existing gaps in service access and support for women with disabilities; 6) A strong evaluation framework that has places the expertise of people with a disability and their representative organisations front and centre, must underpin ILC.

Copyright WWDA March 2015


Women With Disabilities Australia: ‘Submission to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC): Development of the General Comment on the Rights of Adolescents’ (April 2015) [PDF] [Word]

In early 2015, the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child announced its decision to develop a General Comment (GC) on the Rights of Adolescents. The experiences, opportunities and challenges facing adolescents clearly varies widely across different regions and between different groups of adolescents. The Committee therefore sought submissions from interested bodies and States, in all regions and from a wide range of perspectives, to inform the drafting process. WWDA’s Submission to the Committee on the Rights of the Child, to inform the development of the General Comment on the Rights of Adolescents, focuses on 8 key areas and themes, including: 1) Freedom from forced or coerced sterilisation; 2) Freedom from forced contraception; 3) Freedom to exercise full control over sexual and reproductive health; 4) Freedom to express sexuality and gender identity and to access relevant and accurate information and resources regarding sexuality and gender identity; 5) Freedom from all forms of violence, exploitation and abuse; 6) Acknowledgment of the multiple and intersectional nature of identity and experience; 7) Right to inclusive education; 8) Right to justice and freedom from denial of legal and decision-making capacity. Copyright WWDA April 2015.


Women With Disabilities Australia: ‘Submission to the CRPD Committee: Day of General Discussion on the Right to Education for Persons with Disabilities’ (March 2015) [PDF] [Word]

In April 2015, the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities will meet for its 13th session. As part of the session, the Committee is holding a Day of General Discussion on the Right to Education for Persons with Disabilities, to inform the development of a General Comment for CRPD Article 24 [The Right to Education]. WWDA was invited by the CRPD Committee to provide a written submission to contribute to this work. WWDA’s Submission considers Article 24 [the Right to Education for Persons with Disabilities], and the development of a General Comment for Article 24, in the context of the intersection of disability and gender. WWDA’s Submission argues that a General Comment on the Right to Education for Persons with Disabilities must include specific articulation, and embedding of, issues of intersectionality in recognition of the multiple and intersecting discrimination and disadvantage experienced by people with disabilities with multiple identity positions. This recognises that discrimination affects people with disabilities in different ways depending on how they are positioned within the social, economic and cultural hierarchies that prohibit or further compromise their ability to enjoy universal human rights. Importantly, it clarifies that multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination cannot be ‘disconnected’ from each other when endeavouring to ensure the right to an ‘inclusive education’ for people with disabilities. Copyright WWDA March 2015.


National Campaign to End Violence and Abuse against People with Disability in Residential and Institutional Settings: ‘Letter to the Australian Prime Minister, Hon. Tony Abbott’ (January 2015)

For more than a decade, Disabled Peoples Organisations (DPOs), civil society organisations (CSOs); the United Nations, people with disability themselves, their families, allies, friends and advocates, have implored successive Australian Governments to act to ‘address and investigate, without delay, violence, exploitation and abuse experienced by people with disability, particularly women and girls with disability, in institutional and residential settings’. Yet these calls and recommendations have been ignored. Our leaders have failed to act, and in their apathy and indifference, have failed people with disability in institutional and residential settings, who continue to experience the most appalling violations of their most fundamental human rights.

As part of a national campaign to address violence and abuse experienced by people with disability in institutional and residential settings, a coalition of national organisations of and for people with disability, have written formally to the Australian Prime Minister, the Hon Tony Abbott, requesting his strong leadership and action to urgently establish an independent National Inquiry into violence and abuse perpetrated against people with disability in institutional and residential settings in Australia. This letter has been endorsed by more than 95 national and State/Territory based organisations from all around Australia.

Letter to the Australian Prime Minister, Hon. Tony Abbott: PDF Version

Letter to the Australian Prime Minister, Hon. Tony Abbott: Word Version

Attachment 1 – List of Endorsements: PDF Version

Attachment 1 – List of Endorsements: Word Version

Attachment 2 – Case Studies: PDF Version

Attachment 2 – Case Studies: Word Version

 

More information on the National Campaign to End Violence and Abuse against People with Disability in Residential and Institutional Settings is available at: http://www.nationaldisabilityabuseinquiry.com/


National Cross-Disability Disabled People’s Organisations (DPO’s): ‘Joint Submission to the Senate Inquiry into Domestic Violence in Australia’ (September 2014)  [PDF] [Word]

Describing violence against women in Australia as ‘a national tragedy’, the Australian Greens proposal for a Senate Inquiry into Domestic Violence passed the Senate with tri-partisan support on 26th June 2014, and was subsequently referred to the Australian Senate Finance and Public Administration References Committee for inquiry and report by the 27 October 2014. This joint Submission to the ‘Senate Inquiry into Domestic Violence in Australia’, has been written by Carolyn Frohmader (Women With Disabilities Australia) with contribution from Jess Cadwallader (People With Disability Australia) for and on behalf of Women With Disabilities Australia (WWDA); First People’s Disability Network Australia (FPDNA); People with Disability Australia (PWDA); Children with Disability Australia (CDA); and the National Ethnic Disability Alliance (NEDA). The Submission addresses the terms of reference for the Senate Inquiry, and examines: a) the prevalence and impact of domestic violence; b) factors contributing to the levels of domestic violence; c) the adequacy of policy and community responses to domestic violence; d) the effects of policy decisions on the ability of people with disability to escape domestic violence; and, e) how the Federal Government can eliminate violence against women. The Submission includes twelve recommendations, including for example, the urgent need for the Australian Government to commission and fund a National Public Inquiry into Violence Against People with Disability in Institutions, with a specific focus on the gendered nature of such violence, and the multiple forms of violence perpetrated against people with disability in such settings. Copyright September 2014.


Women With Disabilities Australia: ‘Gender Blind, Gender Neutral: The effectiveness of the National Disability Strategy in improving the lives of women and girls with disabilities’ (May 2014)   [PDF] [Word]

The National Disability Strategy (NDS) is the national policy framework to guide Australian governments to meet their obligations under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), which entered into force in Australia in 2008. The NDS is a ten-year Strategy that was formally endorsed by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) in 2011. Under the NDS, a high-level Progress Report will be submitted to the COAG every two years. The first of these is due in late 2014. This Submission from WWDA to the COAG, assesses whether, if and how the NDS is promoting, protecting, respecting and fulfilling the human rights of women and girls with disabilities in Australia. Importantly, this assessment from WWDA includes the provision of a critical analysis of where the NDS appears to be failing women and girls with disabilities. This Submission from WWDA is critically important given that to date, despite Australia’s international human rights obligations in relation to gender equality – all aspects of the NDS are un-gendered. WWDA’s Submission sends a strong and urgent message to all Governments that public policy which treats people with disabilities as a homogenous group only serves to perpetuate the stereotype of people with disabilities as asexual, genderless human beings, and gives rise to a policy, program and service vacuum whereby the human rights of women and girls with disabilities remain violated, denied, ignored and trivialized. WWDA’s Submission demonstrates the vital importance of gender as a central consideration in the development of legislation, policy and programs to advance gender equality and to promote the human the rights of women and girls with disabilities. It also includes, for the consideration of COAG, key areas for future directions in order to strengthen the NDS as a mechanism to advance the human rights of women and girls with disabilities. This includes ensuring the NDS provides gender specific measures and women-specific initiatives, programs and projects in order to address the undisputed gender inequalities and ultimately, to achieve the NDS vision of ‘an inclusive Australian society that enables people with disability to fulfil their potential as equal citizens’. Copyright WWDA April 2014.


Women With Disabilities Australia: ‘Submission to the National Inquiry into Equal Recognition Before the Law and Legal Capacity for People With Disability’ (January 2014)   [PDF]  [Word]

This national Inquiry was announced by the Australian Government in July 2013. The Inquiry, being undertaken by the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) will examine laws and legal frameworks within the Commonwealth jurisdiction that deny or diminish the equal recognition of people with disability as persons before the law and their ability to exercise legal capacity, and consider what, if any, changes could be made to Commonwealth laws and legal frameworks to address these matters. The ALRC’s final report is due in August 2014. This document is WWDA’s formal Submission to the National Inquiry into Equal Recognition Before the Law and Legal Capacity for People With Disability. WWDA’s Submission examines six key priority areas for women with disabilities that are considered crucial in the context of the National Inquiry. These six areas are: 1)  Gendering the National Inquiry into Equal Recognition Before the Law and Legal Capacity for People With Disability;  2)  Sexual and Reproductive Rights and Freedoms;  3) The Right to Freedom from Violence, Abuse, Exploitation and Neglect;  4)  The Right to Found and Maintain a Family;  5)  The Right to Work; and,  6) The Right to Participate in Political and Public life.  Copyright WWDA January 2014.


Women With Disabilities Australia: ‘Report from the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) 10th Session – Review of Australia’ – By Carolyn Frohmader (October 2013) [PDF]  [Word]

In August 2013, WWDA Executive Director Carolyn Frohmader, was selected as a member of the six person ‘Australian Civil Society Parallel Report Group Delegation’ to represent the views of people with disabilities in Australia to the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities during its formal review of Australia’s compliance with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). The Review took place during the CRPD Committee’s 10th Session in Geneva, 2-13 September 2013. Carolyn spent a week at the United Nations in Geneva, working with the CRPD Committee as a member of the Civil Society Parallel Report Group, as well as participating in a number of other events during the week. During her time in Geneva, Carolyn was also able to take up a range of opportunities to meet with several key stakeholders to specifically focus on WWDA’s work and also to provide advice and expertise on issues concerning women and girls with disabilities. This Report has been prepared by Carolyn to highlight her work and experiences during her time in Geneva. Copyright October 2013.


Women With Disabilities Australia: ‘Dehumanised: The Forced Sterilisation of Women and Girls with Disabilities in Australia’ – WWDA Submission to the Senate Inquiry into the Involuntary or Coerced Sterilisation of People with Disabilities in Australia (March 2013)

[Full Submission PDF]  [Full Submission Appendices PDF]  [Full Submission Word]  [Summary & Recommendations PDF]  [Summary & Recommendations Word]

The Senate Inquiry into Involuntary or Coerced Sterilisation of People with Disabilities in Australia commenced in late 2012 and Submissions to the Inquiry closed in early March 2013. The Senate will report on the Inquiry by June 2013. WWDA’s Submission to the Inquiry establishes beyond doubt, that forced and coerced sterilisation of women and girls with disabilities is an internationally recognised form of torture – an inhuman practice which violates multiple human rights, and clearly breaches every international human rights treaty to which Australia is a party. WWDA’s Submission addresses the issue of forced and coerced sterilisation in detail. It examines the background to, and the status of the issue in Australia today, and examines the rationale used to justify the forced sterilisation of disabled women and girls, including themes such as eugenics/genetics; for the good of the State, community or family; incapacity for parenthood; incapacity to develop and evolve; prevention of sexual abuse; and discourses around “best interest”. WWDA’s Submission analyses Australian Court and Tribunal applications and authorisations for sterilisation of disabled women and girls, and demonstrates that the Australian Government’s current justification of the “best interest approach” in the sterilisation of disabled women and girls, has in effect, been used to perpetuate discriminatory attitudes against women and girls with disabilities, and has only served to facilitate the practice of forced sterilisation. The impact of forced sterilisation on women and girls with disabilities is also highlighted in WWDA’s Submission, and reaffirms, through the voices of those affected, that forced and coerced sterilisation has long-lasting physical, psychological and social effects. WWDA’s Submission looks in detail at forced and coerced sterilisation as a violation of human rights and provides an analysis of how the practice contravenes every international human rights treaty to which Australia is a party. Several recent and current legal cases are used to highlight that the issue of forced and coerced sterilisation of women and girls is increasingly being recognised in Courts around the world, as a violation of women’s fundamental human rights. Importantly, WWDA’s Submission also examines redress and transitional justice for women and girls with disabilities who have been sterilised in the absence of their fully informed and free consent. WWDA’s Submission includes 18 Key Recommendations, covering areas such as legislative reforms; transitional justice and redress, (including financial reparation, rehabilitation and recovery); research; informed consent; parenting; violence prevention; supportive decision-making; mechanisms to enable participation of women and girls with disabilities in decision-making; and more. ISBN: 978-0-9876035-0-0. Copyright WWDA March 2013.


Women With Disabilities Australia: Submission to the CRPD Committee 9th Session Half Day of General Discussion on Women and Girls with Disabilities (February 2013) [PDF]  [Word]

The Committee on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities (CRPD) meets from 15th – 19th April 2013 for its ninth session. As part of the ninth session, the CRPD Committee is holding a half day General Discussion on Women and Girls with Disabilities. The CRPD Committee invited WWDA to provide a Submission to inform the half day General Discussion on Women and Girls with Disabilities.This is a copy of WWDA’s Submission. It provides an analyisis of key issues for women and girls with disabilities in Australia, in the context of key articles within the Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities (CRPD). Copyright WWDA February 2013.


Women With Disabilities Australia: Submission to the Consultation Paper on the Establishment of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse (November 2012) [PDF]  [Word]

The sexual abuse of girls and women with disabilities, particularly of those in institutions, continues in a culture of silence, invisibility and apathy. This document is WWDA’s brief Submission to the Australian Government in response to its invitation to comment on its Consultation Paper on the Establishment of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. Given the short time frame for responses to the Consultation Paper [7 days], WWDA has taken this opportunity to highlight some key points for consideration in setting the scope and function of the Royal Commission. Copyright WWDA November 2012.


Women With Disabilities Australia: Letter to the Australian Attorney-General Regarding the United Nations Request for a Formal Response to Allegations of Involuntary Sterilisation of Girls and Women with Disabilities (September 2012) [PDF] [Word]

On 22 June 2011, Women With Disabilities Australia (WWDA) submitted a formal complaint to the United Nations (UN) regarding the ongoing practice of involuntary sterilisation of girls and women with disabilities in Australia. On 18 July 2011, the United Nations wrote to the Australian Government requesting a formal response in relation to WWDA’s formal complaint. The letter from the UN requested the Government provide detailed information on a number of matters. On 12 August 2011, the Australian Government responded to the UN, saying it would provide a full response to the request by 17 October 2011. However, on 30th September 2011, the Australian Government provided a further letter to the UN, saying it would be delaying its response until 16 December 2011. WWDA has been unable to locate any record of the Australian Government providing a final response. In this context, on 5th September 2012, WWDA wrote to the Australian Attorney-General seeking clarification on a number of issues in relation to this matter. This is a copy of WWDA’s letter to the Attorney-General (Hon Nicola Roxon) and includes a copy of the United Nations July 2011 letter to the Australian Government, plus a copy of the Australian Government’s responses to the UN (12 August 2011, and 30th September 2011). Copyright WWDA September 2012.


Women With Disabilities Australia: Submission to the Australian Attorney-General on the Sterilisation of Girls and Women with Disabilities (July 2012) [PDF]  [Word]

This Submission, from WWDA to the Australian Attorney General (the Hon Nicola Roxon), respectfully requests that the Attorney-General take immediate action to ensure the Australian Government complies with the recommendations of: the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) [in 2010], the Committee on the Rights of the Child [in 2005 and 2012], and the Human Rights Council (UPR) [in 2011], and enact national legislation prohibiting, except where there is a serious threat to life or health, the use of sterilisation of girls, regardless of whether they have a disability, and of adult women with disabilities in the absence of their fully informed and free consent. WWDA’s Submission calls on the Government to invoke its external affairs power (as provided in Section 51 of the Australian Constitution), to ensure that this national legislation is enacted as a matter of urgency. In addition to the development and enactment of national legislation prohibiting the practice, WWDA’s Submission further requests that the Australian government implement a range of specific strategies to enable women with disabilities to realise their rights to freedom from violence, to reproductive freedom and to found a family, to freedom from torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, to privacy, and to health. These strategies are detailed at the end of this Submission. Copyright WWDA July 2012.


Women With Disabilities Australia: Policy Paper to the Australian Government on Violence Against Women and Girls with Disabilities (June 2012) [Summary & Recommendations PDF]  [Summary & Recommendations Word]

In late 2011, Women With Disabilities Australia (WWDA) was invited by the United Nations High Commissioner on Human Rights, to provide a Submission to the preparation phase of the United Nations Thematic Study on Violence Against Women With Disabilities (A/HRC/RES/17/11). WWDA’s Submission to this global UN study, was published in late December 2011 and aims to provide an overview of the legislation, regulatory frameworks, policy, administrative procedures, services and support available within Australia to prevent and address violence against women and girls with disabilities. See: [PDF]  [Word]  [Text Only/Large Print]  Given the extensive amount of work WWDA undertook to develop the Submission to the United Nations, WWDA used this key piece of work to form the basis of a Policy Paper to the Australian Government on Violence Against Women and Girls with Disabilities. This Policy Paper summarised the key themes in our Submission to the UN, and included a series of recommendations. There are six major recommendations, and a number of more general recommendations for consideration by Australian Governments, in particular the Australian Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA), and the Attorney-General’s Department, which are the Australian Government’s principal sources of advice on social policy, and law and justice respectively.Copyright WWDA June 2012.


Women With Disabilities Australia: Submission to the Western Australian Government [Draft] Mental Health Bill 2011 (March 2012)  [Submission PDF]  [Submission Word]  [FIGO Guidelines PDF]  [FIGO Guidelines Word]

The Western Australian Government is proposing to introduce into Parliament a new Mental Health Bill 2011. This Draft Mental Health Bill has been prepared for public comment. It would appear from the Draft Bill, that the Western Australian Government is proposing to legislate that a sterilisation procedure could be performed on a child who has a mental illness provided that the child has sufficient maturity and understanding to make reasonable decisions about matters relating to himself or herself and/or the person has given informed consent to the sterilisation procedure being performed.WWDA is of the view that this section of the Draft Bill, is in direct breach of a number of human rights treaties to which Australia is a party, and we have written to the Western Australian Minister for Mental Health requesting her urgent intervention to repeal Part 12: Division 3 [Sterilisation Procedure] from the [Draft] Mental Health Bill 2011. A copy of WWDA’s Submission to the Minister is provided here, along with a copy of the recently published Guidelines on Female Contraceptive Sterilisation and Informed Consent, issued by the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO).Copyright WWDA March 2012.


Women With Disabilities Australia: Submission to the United Nations Thematic Study on Violence Against Women With Disabilities (December 2011) [PDF]  [Word]  [Text Only/Large Print]

In mid June 2011, at its 17th session, the United Nations Human Rights Council adopted a Resolution to accelerate efforts to eliminate all forms of violence against women. The Resolution called for a study to be conducted on the issue of violence against women and girls and disabilities, with the report of the study to be presented to the 20th session of the Human Rights Council in 2012. WWDA’s Submission to the preparation phase of the UN Analytical Study on Violence Against Women and Girls with Disabilities, provides an overview of the legislation, regulatory frameworks, policy, administrative procedures, services and support available within Australia to prevent and address violence against women and girls with disabilities. It provides detailed information under the following themes: data and statistics; legislation and policies; prevention and protection; prosecution and punishment, and recovery, rehabilitation and social integration. Copyright WWDA December 2011.


Women With Disabilities Australia: Submission to the Australian Government’s Fifth Report under the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT)(November 2011)  [Submission PDF]  [Submission Word]  [Sterilisation Briefing Paper PDF]  [Sterilisation Briefing Paper Word]

The Committee Against Torture is the body of independent experts that monitors implementation of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT) by its State parties. All States parties are obliged to submit regular reports to the Committee on how the rights are being implemented. Australia’s fifth report to the Committee Against Torture is due in August 2012. In late 2011, WWDA was invited by the Australian Government to submit initial views on information we believe should be included in the Australian Government’s report. This document is WWDA’s brief submission to the Australian Government and focuses on forced sterilisation of women and girls with disabilities in Australia – a continuing state sanctioned practice which clearly gives rise to torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. WWDA’s Submission is supplemented by an international briefing paper ‘Sterilization of Women and Girls with Disabilities’, published in October 2011 and prepared by WWDA, Human Rights Watch (HRW), the Open Society Foundations, and the International Disability Alliance (IDA) as part of the Global Campaign to Stop Torture in Health Care. Copyright WWDA November 2011.


Women With Disabilities Australia: Policy Paper: ‘Assessing the situation of women with disabilities in Australia: A human rights approach'(July 2011) [PDF]  [Word]

This Paper uses a human rights framework to document the range of data, research and information needed in order to give a comprehensive assessment of the situation of women with disabilities in Australia. The paper provides the context for this work by giving an overview of the intersection of gender and disability, as well as a brief background to the human rights imperative. Using key articles from the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), the paper then prescribes the key quantitative and qualitative data and research required under each article, and links this to Australia’s international human rights obligations and domestic policy context. Copyright WWDA July 2011.


Women With Disabilities Australia: ‘Submission to the United Nations Special Rapporteurs regarding forced sterilisation in Australia'(June 2011) [PDF]  [Word]

In late June 2011, WWDA submitted a formal communication to the United Nations regarding the ongoing practice of forced sterilisation in Australia. WWDA’s Submission was sent simultaneously to four of the United Nations Special Rapporteurs, Mr. Shuaib Chalklen (Special Rapporteur on Disability); Mr. Anand Grover (Special Rapporteur on the Right to the Highest Attainable Standard of Physical and Mental Health); Ms. Rashida Manjoo (Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women); and Mr. Juan E Mendez (Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment). Copyright WWDA June 2011.


Women With Disabilities Australia (WWDA) and Women With Disabilities Victoria: ‘Joint Submission to Productivity Commission’s Draft Report National Disability Care and Support Inquiry'(May 2011) [PDF]  [Word]

The emphasis for this joint Submission from WWDA and Women With Disabilities Victoria is how to ensure lived experiences which arise from gender, with attention to the perspective of women and girls in particular, are considered in the development of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and addressed in its implementation. The Submission addresses a number of issues of specific interest to women with disabilities, including for example: Sexuality, Parenting and Reproductive Rights; Health and wellbeing; Employment; and, Safety and violence. The Submission includes a number of case studies to highlight and give a context to the issues raised, and contains a number of specific recommendations. Copyright WWDA June 2011.


Women With Disabilities Australia: ‘Submission to the Attorney General’s Department on the Background Paper on ‘A New National Human Rights Action Plan for Australia’ (February 2011) [PDF]  [Word]

In December 2010, the Attorney-General’s Department released a Background Paper outlining the strategy for the development of ‘A new National Human Rights Action Plan for Australia’. WWDA was invited to provide comment on the Background Paper, and subsequently developed a written Submission which was forwarded to the Attorney-General’s Department in February 2011. WWDA’s Submission strongly endorsed the Government’s commitment to develop a national human rights action plan.WWDA’s Submission to the Background Paper contains a number of recommendations, several which focus on the process (as outlined in the Background Paper) of developing the National Human Rights Action Plan (NHRAP). Copyright WWDA February 2011.