Message from the Chair
Dear Members and Colleagues,
During the past couple of weeks, WWDACT has taken part in a number of meetings.
On 11 April I participated in a consultation about the support requirements and accommodation options for people in the ACT with high and complex needs. The study is being undertaken by a team from the Institute of Social Science Research at the University of Queensland, and has been commissioned by the ACT Government and overseen by ACT Housing. WWDACT highlighted the precarious housing situation for single women with disabilities, and for women with disabilities leaving situations of violence. The need is not only for bricks and mortar, although the scarcity of affordable, accessible public and private housing continues, but for trained, skilled workers who can support women with high and complex needs to manage their own affairs and regain a place in the community. The research report is due in June 2018.
On 12 April, WWDACT met with a visiting academic from Glasgow. Lisa Armstrong has worked in the area of disability and corrections. Her current study is gathering information on supported decision making in the justice system. In Scotland the term ‘appropriate adults’ describes those volunteers who work in the courts alongside people with disabilities in order to assist them to participate. In the UK the term ‘intermediary’ is used. Although this implementation of SDM is a great step forward, there are not enough volunteers, and the training is not consistent or well-developed.
Following this I participated in a consultation conducted by the Australian Human Rights Commission which is undertaking a study into the violence experienced by people with disabilities in institutional settings. The AHRC is concerned about how services which provide disability-specific supports are supervised and what safeguards are currently in place to ensure that violence and abuse do not occur. In accommodation, the ACT currently relies on the Official Visitor scheme for oversight and feedback. The inquiry is also looking at oversight and safeguarding in mainstream services. The inquiry will help in understanding how the Disability Discrimination Act might be used where there is a complaint about the delivery of a service which is being funded through the NDIS.