There are many ways to support us:Make a Donation Becoming a Disability Rights Defender Volunteering and student placement Becoming a financial member
For an up to date summary of PWD’s advocacy work around licensed boarding houses, please click here.
IN 2010 the Youth and Community Services Regulation for all licensed boarding houses accommodating people with disability came into force. To assist Licensees, Licensed Managers and staff of licensed boarding houses in understanding and interpreting the new Regulation, the NSW Department of Human Services, Ageing, Disability and Homecare (ADHC) has developed a Licensed Residential Centres Compliance Practice Guide.
PWD welcomes the release of this important document as it not only provides guidance for the application of the Youth and Community Services Regulation 2010 to operators of licensed boarding houses but will also greatly assist service providers and others involved in supporting people with disability living in this sector. The need for clarification and interpretation of requirements expected from licensed boarding houses has been a key lobby point for PWD for some time.
Importantly these Guidelines also clarify the guidelines and practice approach Licensees, Licensed Managers and staff of licensed boarding houses should use to address issues of abuse, referring them to the ADHC Abuse and Neglect Policy and Procedure; the ADHC Behaviour Support Policy; and Interagency Protocol for responding to Abuse of Older People as a minimum standard of practice around responding to abuse and neglect issues. The lack of policy and practice guidelines for licensed boarding houses around domestic violence, and abuse generally, was a critical issue and key advocacy component of PWD’s 2009/2010 Disability and Domestic Violence Project and associated report published last year. Clarification that licensed boarding houses should refer and use these existing policies for guidance on preventing and responding to abuse and neglect issues addresses the void in policy in this area for the first time.
ADHC have also made a commitment to produce this guide in Easy English and formats accessible by people with disability living in licensed boarding houses.
On 3 December 2010 the Minister for Disability Services and Ageing, Disability and Home Care (ADHC) publically discredited People with Disability Australia’s (PWD) report on domestic violence in NSW licensed boarding houses, Accommodating Violence for its lack of legitimacy and evidence.
In response to this criticism, we would like to set the record straight on two accounts.
Firstly, ADHC Metro South Region were members of the Project Advisory Group guiding the Disability and Domestic Violence Project from the start, and as such had ample opportunity over the 12 months of the project to have input into the project, including voicing any concerns with the methodology used by PWD in collecting and compiling the data which informed the report.
In addition, ADHC Central Office staff were interviewed for guidance on policy for responding to abuse and neglect in licensed boarding houses as part of the policy analysis component of the project, and they also participated in two disability services workshop held during project.
Not at any stage has ADHC raised concerns with PWD about the quality of the research or project methodology, nor was this feedback provided by ADHC in their comments to the draft report.
Secondly, the Minister’s office and ADHC are now discounting the report, stating it “provides no evidence to back up claims that domestic violence is a daily lived experience of people with a disability living in licensed boarding houses” (‘Boarding Houses Unsafe’, Sydney Morning Herald, 3 December 2010).
We acknowledge that the lens provided by a domestic violence context is new to this residential setting, and the domestic relationships which exist within them. It is a lens which had not been considered by most stakeholders involved in this project, including ADHC. Indeed this was one of the findings of Accommodating Violence and one of the many barriers to effective prevention and response to violence and abuse in licensed boarding houses. However, it is misleading of the Minister and ADHC to suggest that there is no evidence to back up claims that domestic violence is a daily lived experience of people with a disability living in licensed boarding houses, when issues of violence and abuse of people with disability living in licensed boarding houses is so well known and documented.
PWD would therefore, like to take this opportunity to reiterate some of the evidence which was used to inform the report Accommodating Violence: The experience of domestic violence and people with disability in licensed boarding houses , as well as provide some additional information on this issue.
The E-Bulletin is a source of PWDA's internal news and developments in the disability sector at the state, national and international levels. It goes out to members and interested others regularly by email.