WWDA News 4th November 2015

In This Edition:

  • Young Australians with Disability to Contribute to Global Youth Disability Initiative
  • UN Expert Urges States to Make Their Social Protection Systems More Inclusive
  • New UN Report on the Right to Adequate Housing for People with Disability Living in Cities
  • ACDA Presentation from International Expert Group Meeting Now Available
  • The Australian Criminal Justice System Continuing to Fail Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Women with Disabilities
  • NDIA Releases Tender for $60m of Victorian Local Area Coordination Services
  • International Day of People with Disability, 3rd December 2015

General News

Young Australians with Disability to Contribute to Global Youth Disability Initiative

On Friday 6th November WWDA and the WWDA Youth Network, along with the Australian Cross Disability Alliance (ACDA) and the Youth Disability Advocacy Service (YDAS) will be hosting a small forum on Promoting sexual and reproductive health and rights for young people with disability on behalf of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID).

The forum will elicit the views of young people with disabilities on the branding and aims of the ‘Youth and Disability Policies of Social Inclusion, Gender Equality, Non-Discrimination and Prevention of Sexual Violence Initiative 2015-2018’. A report and video from the forum will be provided to the Australian Government and to the UNFPA to be incorporated into findings from similar forums being held around the world.

The ‘Youth and Disability Policies of Social Inclusion, Gender Equality, Non-Discrimination and Prevention of Sexual Violence Initiative 2015-2018’ is a four-year global initiative – directed at improving the human rights of youth with disabilities – includes the development of an international program to strengthen policies that are inclusive, non-discriminatory, based on gender equality and the prevention of sexual violence. The initiative is funded by the AECID and implemented by the UNFPA with the support of Family Care International (FCI).

WWDA was invited to coordinate the Australian forum following our attendance and contribution, along with PWDA at the International Expert Group Meeting on the initiative in Montevideo, Uruguay in July 2015.

The forum will be held this Friday in Melbourne with a diverse group of 12 young people who have been selected from across Australia. The forum will be co-facilitated by Cashelle Dunn (WWDA Youth Network), Matthew Bowden (PWDA) and George Taleporos (YDAS). Carolyn Frohmader (WWDA) and Chris Brophy (WWDA) have coordinated the forum and re-drafted the focus group questions. Look out for a report over the coming weeks.

Logos - ACDA, WWDA Youth, YDAS


International News

Illustration of Progress Bar Loading with the text: Inclusion

UN Expert Urges States to Make their Social Protection Systems More Inclusive

States should make their social protection systems more inclusive for persons with disabilities, rather than pursuing models that often lock them into a cycle of dependence and poverty, the UN Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities, Catalina Devandas Aguilar has said.

“Most countries base their social protection systems on a ‘medical approach’ to disability. Under this model, persons with disabilities are seen as incapable of studying, working or living independently in the society,” said Ms. Devandas Aguilar during the presentation of her first report* to the UN General Assembly on Tuesday.

“Such an approach promotes a false sense of well-being and protection,” the expert said.” “Yes, persons with disabilities get services and benefits but often at the cost of their autonomy and independence. Such approach has without any doubt resulted in more poverty, segregation, stigmatization and exclusion,” she stressed.

“Non-inclusive poverty reduction programmes implemented in the past decades also constitute a missed opportunity, which could have enabled persons with disabilities to get out of poverty,” Ms. Devandas Aguilar said.

In her report, the UN expert argues that well-designed social protection systems are an essential tool to combat poverty and promote the independence, inclusion and participation of persons with disabilities in a sustainable manner.

The report provides concrete steps that States can take to ensure that their systems become more inclusive, including:

  • Review domestic legislation to recognize the right of persons with disabilities to social protection, and take this right into account in national social protection strategies and plans;
  • Ensure access by persons with disabilities to general and disability-specific social protection, without discrimination;
  • Guarantee that benefits offered promote independence and social inclusion and cover disability-related costs.

The Special Rapporteur also expressed her deep concern about the disproportionate effect of austerity measures on persons with disabilities. “While adopting austerity measures, some countries make budget cuts that have a profound impact on the livelihood of persons with disabilities and their right to live independently in their community,” she noted. The Special Rapporteur reminded that States should refrain from  adopting measures that are deliberately regressive in the exercise of the right to social protection.

“Inclusive social protection is essential to achieve the new Sustainable Development Goals. The inclusion of persons with disabilities in social protection systems is not only a question of rights, but also a crucial step to move towards the proposed new SDGs: end poverty in all its forms everywhere; ensure healthy lives and promote well-being; ensure inclusive and equitable quality education; achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls; and reduce inequalities,” she concluded.

For further information:

New UN Report on the Right to Adequate Housing

UN-Habitat have released a new report entitled ‘The Right to Adequate Housing for Persons with Disabilities Living in Cities’. UN-Habitat is the United Nations programme working towards a better urban future. Its mission is to promote socially and environmentally sustainable human settlements development and the achievement of adequate shelter for all.

As established in international law and the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, the report argues that it is necessary to pay attention to the rights and needs of persons with disabilities.

Persons with disabilities are disproportionately represented in the poorest quintile of the population, and face additional challenges due to discriminatory laws and policies, environmental barriers, and lack of support services that would enable the enjoyment of the right to adequate housing on an equal basis with others.

This study reviews the literature on the meaning and impact of the right to adequate housing for persons with disabilities in cities. It uses the foundational framework of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), and demonstrates how the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) provides a new understanding of this complex right.

The authors link the right to adequate housing not only to other international treaties, but also to the diverse groups of individuals who are persons with disabilities and the complexity of the identities involved.

They outline major types of barriers that persons with disabilities encounter (physical inaccessibility, lack of access to transportation services, insecurity of tenure, among others), and identify trends in relation to policy and legal framework and national and sub-national solutions to the realization of the rights of persons with disabilities.

The report takes a human rights-based approach to development of human settlements that offer equal opportunities to persons with disabilities. The report offers three case studies that highlight some good practices and topics worthy of further inquiry.

The study points to many actions States Parties can pursue, and makes some recommendations specifically for UN-Habitat.

For further information:


Australian Cross Disability Alliance News

Australian Cross Disability Alliance Logo

In early July 2015, Women With Disabilities Australia (WWDA), a member of the Australian Cross Disability Alliance (ACDA), was invited to participate in the United Nations Population Fund(UNFPA) International Expert Group meeting on the ‘Youth and Disability Policies of Social Inclusion, Gender Equality, Non-Discrimination and Prevention of Sexual Violence’ initiative (2015-2018).

This four-year global initiative – directed at improving the human rights of youth with disabilities – includes the development of an international program to strengthen policies that are inclusive, non-discriminatory, based on gender equality and the prevention of sexual violence. The overall programme goal is the development and implementation of a human rights-based intervention model to address non-discrimination, gender equality and sexual violence prevention, including sexual and reproductive health, for youth with disabilities.

The global programme considers five key areas: state-of-the-art and data, including good practices in terms of social inclusion policies; global advocacy and policy dialogue; the development of human rights standards; capacity development strategies; and costing and evaluation. The programme will build on the available and reviewed/evaluated existing resources and practices at global, regional and country levels.

The four-year global initiative is funded by the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID) and is being coordinated and implemented by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) with support from Family Care International (FCI).

WWDA was invited to participate in the development and implementation of the Global Program due to WWDA’s internationally recognised expertise in the area and previous work with the United Nations, including the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). In the context of WWDA and PWDA as member organisations of the Australian Cross Disability Alliance (ACDA), and given the close collaborative relationship between WWDA and PWDA, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) agreed that both Carolyn Frohmader and Therese Sands (Co-CEO of PWDA) would attend the International Expert Group meeting on the ‘Youth and Disability Policies of Social Inclusion, Gender Equality, Non-Discrimination and Prevention of Sexual Violence’ initiative (2015-2018).

The International Expert Group meeting on the ‘Youth and Disability Policies of Social Inclusion, Gender Equality, Non-Discrimination and Prevention of Sexual Violence’ was held in Montevideo, Uruguay on September 2nd, 3rd and 4th 2015. Over the three days, Carolyn and Therese facilitated a number of panels and working groups, and also gave presentations regarding the work of WWDA, PWDA, and the WWDA Youth Network. Carolyn and Therese also gave a presentation on the Australian Cross Disability Alliance (ACDA) model, including its work to advance the human rights of children and young people with disability.

For further information:

Australian Cross Disability Alliance is Now Online

The Australian Cross Disability Alliance (ACDA) have an official online presence at crossdisabilityalliance.org.au, complementing ACDA’s Twitter presence.

The ACDA website provides up-to-date information on the work of the Alliance and provide an accessible, central organising point for all the various aspects of our work across the Australian and International disability and human rights sectors.

On the website you will also find links to access and download ACDA submissions, publications and reports, media releases, and details of our campaigns. The website also connects with the ACDA Twitter feed and includes a latest news blog.

For further information:


Australian News

The Australian Criminal Justice System Continuing to Fail Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Women with Disabilities

Researchers from the University of New South Wales (UNSW) have released several articles on academic news site, The Conversation, reporting on findings from the Indigenous Australians with Mental Health Disorders and Cognitive Disability in the Criminal Justice System (IAMHDCD) Project.

Historically, Australia has a poor record when it comes to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and their contact with criminal justice systems. The researchers report that despite only making up 2 to 3 percent of the Australian female population, the rate of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women entering prison has grown from 21 percent of all women prisoners in 1996 to 35 percent in 2014 and is continuing to increase.

Researcher and author of one article, Elizabeth McEntyre, argues that the findings from the IAMHDCD project, which included an analysis of a dataset of 2731 people who have been imprisoned in NSW, demonstrate that the system is unequivocally failing these women and the situation is getting worse. They note that within this growing population, Aboriginal women with disabilities are over-represented and remain the most disadvantaged.

“These Aboriginal women’s needs are not being met by any human service system; they are landing in the criminal justice system because of serious policy and service gaps”

The researchers highlight that some areas where support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women with and without disability within the justice system could be improved include “police relations, access to Aboriginal Legal Services, courts and sentencing, bail applications, services provided in prison, access to probation and parole and post release care, as well as Aboriginal women-driven research”. In addition, they argue that “early intervention and diversion into holistic, therapeutic, culturally responsive, community-based support, case management support services, housing support and disability support pensions could help break the cycle of imprisonment for many of these women”.

For further information:

National Disability Insurance Agency Releases Tender for $60m of Local Area Coordination Services in Victoria

The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) have released a tender for AUD$60m for NDIS Local Area Coordination services (LAC) in the state of Victoria. One LAC provider will be selected for each of the three Victorian regions. Under the National Disability Insurance Scheme, Local Area Coordinators are employed to connect people with disability to NDIS service sin their local communities as well as improve the way that mainstream services support and engage with people with disability.

For further information:

International Day of People with Disability Logo

It’s a date! International Day of People with Disability, 3rd December 2015

December 3rd 2015 will mark the 22nd International Day of People with Disability celebrated in Australia. IDPWD recognises the diverse contributions of people with disability around the world and their allies. In Australia alone, around 1000 events are held each year to celebrate the day. If you are coordinating an event to mark the day you can register your event and check out other events around the country on the IDPWD website.

For further information: