31st October 2017
“People have been hurt, are hurt, and violated. People are sexually assaulted, people are physically injured, people are spoken down to, people are treated unkindly. None of these things are acceptable.”
Setting the scene early on in the day, Laurie Harkin AM, Disability Services Commissioner, reminded all event participants why DSC was running the forum “Preventing and Responding to Abuse: Guidance for Victorian disability service providers”.
Different inquiries and personal stories have shown, abuse of people with a disability has been and is happening far too frequently in disability services. Recent amendments to the Disability Act 2006 recognised the need to build a strong culture of zero tolerance to abuse in Victorian disability services.
Providing education and information about the prevention of and responses to abuse and neglect in disability services is a key tool in changing existing cultures. DSC’s forum is a continuation of some of the work already undertaken by a range of agencies whilst acknowledging that there is still much more to be done in this area.
Topics ranged from international perspectives on safeguarding frameworks, the role of staff in safeguarding rights, and in-depth workshops on a Zero Tolerance approach, learning from incidents and deaths, and Staying Safe resources for people with disability. Participants were challenged by first-person accounts of abuse and assault, reminded about their responsibilities as disability staff, and empowered with new tools and ideas to implement in their daily work.
The Disability Services Commissioner ended the forum with a challenge to all event participants – “to walk away and reflect, to make the changes that you need to make.” We encourage you to use these video resources as one of the strategies that support you to reflect on and make the changes that need to be made.
To view and download resources from the forum including videos and captions of keynote presentations and Powerpoint presentations, click here.