“As a woman with an intellectual disability, I can say that abuse from people who were supposed to be caring for me has had a very bad long-term impact on my life”, says self-advocate Heather Forsyth.
Ms Forsyth is a staff member at VALID, and Inclusion Australia’s Our Voice Chairperson. She knows first-hand the devastating impact abuse and violence against people with disability has on lives.
VALID supports Labor’s commitment to a Royal Commission into the abuse and neglect of people with disability.
Pressure is mounting for the Government to step up and do the same, with Opposition Leader Bill Shorten and Shadow Minister for Families and Social Services Jenny Macklin, today announcing that Labor will hold a Royal Commission into the abuse of people with disability if they win the next Federal election.
“Every single week, VALID hears stories of abuse, bullying and violence – this happens in disability services, schools and our community – it must stop”, says Kevin Stone, CEO of VALID.
“People with intellectual disability suffer human rights abuses every day such as neglect, lack of access to appropriate care as well as physical and sexual abuse. It is just not acceptable”, he says.
A Royal Commission is essential in hearing the voices of people with disability, in particular intellectual disability, who haven’t been given adequate opportunity to voice their experiences and who are the sufferers of alarming and widespread violence and abuse.
The rate of violence for people with disability is three times the national average. It’s an epidemic. Stories from a mother whose son with an intellectual disability was “assaulted, starved and neglected” in care are shocking – but all too common.
A Royal Commission is critical to providing a comprehensive, independent, and a just response to all forms of violence and abuse against people with disability.
“A Royal Commission will not only bring justice for the many victims but will also be a powerful mechanism in working towards a future where people with intellectual disability can be free from abuse. VALID joins an army of voices from people with disability and their families, human rights advocates, academics and healthcare professionals in calling for this to happen now”, Kevin Stone says.
VALID urges the Government to call a Royal Commission into this critical issue. People with intellectual disability in Australia deserve nothing less.
Media contact: David Petherick 0488 422 236
VALID is the peak organisation in the Victorian disability sector representing adults with an intellectual disability and their families. VALID is run by and for people with disability and family members.