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: