MEDIA RELEASE 14 November 2014
Abuse, neglect, exploitation and deaths
Who will protect people with disabilities in residential care?
We ask: Will you call for, facilitate or initiate an inquiry into the abuse, neglect, exploitation and deaths of people with disabilities in supported accommodation?
“Today we have sent an open letter to the four leaders of the major political parties – Denis Napthine, Liberal; Peter Ryan, Nationals; Greg Barber, Greens; Daniel Andrews, Labor – and the major spokespersons on disability – Mary Wooldridge, Liberals; Jenny Mikakos, Labor; Colleen Hartland, Greens,” said Max Jackson and Margaret Ryan. “The Open Letter calls for their action to establish an inquiry into the abuse, neglect, exploitation and deaths occurring in disability supported accommodation.”
”Our political leaders must face up to the scandals simmering away in the disability sector,” said Max and Margaret.
In 2010-11 there were 272 deaths of people with disabilities who were living in supported accommodation – that is in excess of five per week. In late 2011 a change in the categorisation of deaths led to a situation where not all deaths that occurred in supported accommodation are publicly disclosed. Hence, since 2011 the number of published death figures has declined significantly, with 84 being publicly reported in 2013-14. The significance of the drop from 272 to 84 is not that the number of deaths has reduced. The significance is that the full number is not being disclosed. Death in residential care is being hidden from public scrutiny.
Margaret and Max therefore ask:
“Who will stand up for people with disabilities living in supported accommodation?”
“Who in Victoria with the power to initiate or influence an inquiry into the abuse, neglect, exploitation and deaths of people with disabilities in supported accommodation is prepared to take the lead?”
“Why have the two major political parties ignored the call for an inquiry?”
“What is the point of watchdogs and publicly funded advocacy organisations if all they do is talk the talk?”
“We have also called upon Ms Deborah Glass , Victorian Ombudsman; Ms Colleen Pearce, Public Advocate; Mr Laurie Harkin, Disability Services Commissioner; and Ms Gill Callister, Secretary, Department of Human Services, to stand up for the right of persons with disabilities to live free from abuse, neglect exploitation and death in residential care.”
“This is a scandal that the media must bring to the attention of Victoria’s public to break through the barrier of silence and ensure total transparency in what is occurring in terms of people with disabilities living in supported accommodation.”
Contact:- Max Jackson, Mobile 0413 040 654.
Margaret Ryan, Mobile 0412 409 61