And herein lies an interesting discussion, a topical one on White Ribbon Day.
NDS provides support to service providers. They are their stakeholders, not we people with disability, not family members.
I was asked recently if I went to a consultation forum to support service providers to better prevent and respond to abuse and neglect of people with disability. It's part of an NDS national project. I have done some past work and am currently working on some projects around prevention of abuse and neglect against people with disability.
Of course I didn't go. I wasn't invited.
Neither were any other people with disability. In fact, the invitation was fairly clear in excluding them -
- All interested disability service providers. CEOs and operational line managers would especially benefit from attending.
- Representatives from disability complaint authorities and other relevant statutory bodies.
- Advocacy organisations representing people with disability.
- Other interested professionals including mainstream (non-disability specific) abuse support services, academics and consultants.
Please note forums are not open to members of the general public.
Now, here's the thing. The forum is around institutional neglect and abuse. Think about it. It's a bit like saying - 'Frood, I know that six members of your family have been violently raped over the past year. So we're going to the prison to talk to the paeophiles and rapists about ways to make sure it is prevented in the future.'
I'm not painting all service providers as abusers - far from it. I know that there are honest and dedicated and compassionate service providers who are not the management of the Yooralla staff, who ignored warning signs that allowed a rapist to perpetrate monstrous crimes against disabled people. I am just saying that if we are not in the conversation, how will any of it change?
Rapists, paedophiles, murderers. People who have starved and neglected and abused us, come up with a plan to protect us, please. You can let us know what you've come up with once you've developed it.
Not a person with a disability in the room.