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Changing community attitudes to improve inclusion of people with disability

  • Research program
Publication date

An update has been made on the Diversity section (p37-38) of this research report. The research report was published on the website after approval by the Chair on 3 May 2022. Since the date of publication, the authors have provided amendments to p37-38 of the report. The Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability (Royal Commission) accepts that these changes should be made to the published report. This re-published report includes the changes made by the authors on p37-38.


Changing community attitudes to improve inclusion of people with disability


The Disability Royal Commission has published a report. It’s called ‘Changing community attitudes to improve inclusion of people with disability.’

The report was written by researchers from the University of New South Wales Sydney and Flinders University.

The report looked at what could be done to change community attitudes towards people with disability, so they are more included in society.

How was the study done?

Researchers looked at studies about how to change attitudes and behaviours, and summarised what other people had found.

They also interviewed 61 people from across Australia about what they knew about how to change attitudes. The people were from business, government, community and advocacy organisations.

What did the study find?

The report found that there are many ways to change people’s attitudes. The report found that to change attitudes, you need the following:

  • People with disability with diverse experiences and backgrounds (such as First Nations or LGBTIQ+) need to be present across lots of areas, like in schools, workplaces and the community.
  • There needs to be leadership by people with disability at the centre.

The report also said that it is important that the government has strategies for inclusion. And these strategies should have many different policies, for instance:

  • Government needs to target different levels including:
    • how people think about themselves and interact with each other
    • how organisations work with people with and without disability
    • how community and governments work.
  • Government needs to use different types of policy, for example:
    • advertising that shows people with disability positively
    • guidelines to help businesses understand inclusion
    • money policies to help organisations provide equal opportunities for people with disability
    • changes to laws to ensure inclusion of people with disability.
  • Governments need to use different ways such as:
    • by giving people information about disability and meeting people with disability eg through education and training
    • looking at how governments and businesses are set up, and how they work with and include people with disability
    • laws and guidelines that make sure people with disability are included.

The report also said:

  • to change the way organisations, government and business work, there needs to be long term approaches with enough funding and resources for them.
  • to support organisations to make decisions about change, there needs to be ways to measure and monitor change, so organisations are accountable and work towards their goal of inclusion.

More information

To read the full report, visit our website. Go to the ‘Publications’ section and click on ‘Research program’.