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L.I.S.A Inc
 
LISA... is a parent support and lobby group, for parents and families with a family member having an intellectual or multiple disability, and living in a supported accommodation group home in the State of Victoria, Australia.
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Residential Services Review - Federal and State (Vic)

             

It's shaping up to be a big year in the disability sector

 says Matthew Potocnik

The Victorian Ombudsman Inquiry, submissions, close on the 15 of February 2015. There will be a Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry and a Federal Inquiry is already taking submissions, until 6 Feb 2015.

As a parent of a child living with disability and as a disability professional working in government, including direct care and middle management, I would like to urge people who are placing submissions to look at the broader picture.

There are foundational processes designed to support and protect the rights of people in disability support services, however mechanisms of accountability fail.

It is essential that there is accountability from direct care to management and visa versa. The policies support good practice but fail in their implementation. Management mitigates, as in the recent Yooralla scandal, by hiding and suppressing facts and incidents of abuse.

When making a submission please include and mention that government needs to be accountable to “whole of government legislation”.  Don’t hold back on putting in a submission, even if the kind of abuse or neglect has been fixed or passed. All the variations of abuse result from either intent, frustration, cultural apathy and/or a failure to be accountable.

A good example is the current incident reporting process where the incident is recorded once it gets to the office. It is imperative that incidents are numbered from the place of the incident. Direct Care workers and clients need this protection to underpin Duty of Care in Service Provision.With this reporting process accountability will be fortified and reporting mandates protected.

The disability environment is an oddity, for example, if you feel thirsty you pour yourself a drink, however, I know from my own son’s situation that he can’t ask or indicate, he needs a drink. The point I am making is that systems need to be articulated and accountable to one another. Disability services can’t rely on standard implementation processes, mandates and 'Duty of Care' need protecting by a system accountable to the needs of the vulnerable it is designed to support.

Whole of government policy failed at the Victorian State election, in 2014. Out of about 5,500 people in supported accommodation across the State only about 54 enrolled and/or voted. This constitutes huge systemic abuse, however, it highlights the fact that – “Whole of Government policy needs to be accountable and implemented properly to a Direct Care level in order to deliver support and Duty of Care to individuals living with disability. Please mention the importance of whole of government policy and accountability in your submission.

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Federal Inquiry into Residential Services (Link)            

Adequacy of existing residential care arrangements available for young people with severe physical, mental or intellectual disabilities in Australia

On 3 December 2014, the Senate referred the following matter to the Community Affairs References Committee for inquiry and report:

The adequacy of existing residential care arrangements available for young people with severe physical, mental or intellectual disabilities in Australia

Parents of people with disabilities who may have sons/daughters who will require supported residential accommodation in the future should make a submission to this Inquiry by 6 February 2015.  

If they have family members who are already in supported accommodation they should make a submission by 6 February 2015 of their experiences of areas working well and areas which require improvement.

State of Victoria Inquiry into Residential Services

INFLUENCE THE VICTORIAN OMBUDSMAN'S INVESTIGATION (LINK)

The Ombudsman is seeking submissions by 15 February 2015 on the scope of the inquiry. The ombudsman has signalled her intention to look at: 

• current practice to identify deficiencies in reporting and investigation.

• the support provided to some of the most vulnerable in our community when there

  are allegations of abuse.

• services which include residential, respite and day programs funded by the

  Victorian Government.

• The oversight responsibilities of agencies including the Department of Human

  Services, Disability Services Commissioner and the Office of the Public Advocate.

Many people  already have valuable information which can help the investigation. 

Therefore, ensure that it does - before 15 February 2015.  Preferably as soon as possible – The sooner, the better!

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LISA Inc   ~   Phone: 03 9434 3810   ~   Email: vk3qq@optusnet.com.au   ~   Address: 73 Nepean Street Watsonia VIC 3087

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