"Community Visitors regularly report that residents have limited opportunities to realise their individual capacities".
This might be due to poor access to affordable transport or staff shortages or inadequate support. In many cases, residents are not able to make genuine choices about such things as who they live with, activities they engage in or even when they retire.
Sadly, many people still have unmet communication needs, so are unable to actively participate in the decisions that affect their lives or to understand the information that might help them to do so.
The principles of the Disability Act state that people with a disability have the same rights as other members of the community to:
- respect for their human worth and dignity live free from abuse, neglect and exploitation
- realise their individual capacity for physical, social, emotional and intellectual development
- exercise control over their own lives • participate actively in the decisions that affect their lives and have information and be supported where necessary to enable this to occur
- access information and communicate in a manner appropriate to their communication and cultural needs and services to support their quality of life.
In practice, it is often difficult for people living in residential services to fully exercise these rights.
The Public Advocate says in the OPA Annual Report:
“A pressing concern this year has been increased reporting of allegations of abuse and neglect. Consequently, the Public Advocate has implemented a ‘notification’ process to ensure staff alert her formally in writing of any serious abuse allegations. The information enables her to take the necessary informed action with the Department of Health and DHS to protect the safety of the vulnerable residents visited”.
Community Visitors Report (LINK)
Public Advocate Report (LINK)
LISA Comment: Questionable activities against vulnerable people in both its direct and indirect services will never be reduced or eliminated whilst the Department of Human Service, Victoria, totally fails to properly, consistently and pro-actively manage its care and support services.
This may be a bridge too far, as traditional public service culture is safe employment and an obligation only to be at one’s workplace. Therefore, it is almost impossible for a DHS group home supervisors, for example, to direct staff per se - certainly not to provide more than minder-care.
All our inside contacts say that most staff who attempt to provide residents with quality of life care, with regular engagement/interaction, PCAS and PBS, are often intimidated and ridiculed and told, “We don’t do all that rubbish here!” “Why are you talking to that resident, he can’t understand you?”