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Final Report - Volume 3, Nature and extent of violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation (Auslan)

  • Auslan translation
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Video and transcript

Volume 3 – Nature and extent of violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation



The Disability Royal Commission's Final report tells the Australian Government what changes need to be made to prevent violence against, and abuse, neglect and exploitation of, people with disability.

We recommend change so people with disability can enjoy all human rights and freedoms fully and equally.

Our Final report has 12 volumes.

This video is a summary of Volume 3 – Nature and extent of violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation.

Volume 3 discusses the nature and extent of maltreatment that people with disability experience in different settings and contexts, and in different life stages.

It looks at violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation that takes place in people’s homes, at school, at work or when engaging with services.

It looks at maltreatment perpetrated by individuals, and resulting from structural and systemic barriers and failures. It looks at how this can alter people’s lives and affect their outcomes.

There are 10 chapters in total.

Chapters 1 – 2

People with disability in Australia and maltreatment across the life course

Chapter 1 helps us understand people with disability in Australia: who they are, where they live, their age, their disability and their background.

Chapter 2 discusses the impact of maltreatment over time, and how it affects life outcomes and trajectories of people with disability.

It looks at risk factors associated with people with disability experiencing violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation. Risk factors can include being social isolated, or economically disadvantaged.

Chapters 3 – 6

Interpersonal violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation

Chapters 3­ – 6 look at the nature and extent of violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation by individuals. The chapters cover statistics, trends and the experiences of people with disability.

They look at different settings and contexts, including domestic and family relationships and public places.

The chapters examine intersectional experiences of interpersonal violence and abuse.

This includes the experiences of women and girls, First Nations people, culturally and linguistically diverse people, and LGBTQIA+ people with disability.

The chapters note that people with disability experience more violence and abuse than people without disability.

  • More than half of people with disability aged 18 to 64 have been physically or sexually abused since age 15, compared with 38 per cent of adults that age without disability.

  • People with disability who experience violence are more likely to know the perpetrator than people without disability who experience violence.

  • Women with disability aged 18 to 64 experience high rates of violence by a domestic partner (29 per cent) and of sexual assault (29 per cent).

Rates of violence are particularly high for:

  • women with psychological or intellectual disability

  • First Nations women with disability

  • young women with disability.

Chapter 7

Practices that disproportionately affect people with disability

Chapter 7 discusses practices that are used against people with disability which can impact their autonomy, and can affect their health, safety and wellbeing.

These include:

  • restrictive practices, including physical, chemical or mechanical restraint. These practices can occur in different settings including schools, supported accommodation, hospitals or jails. We found that psychotropic medication is overused and overprescribed for people with cognitive impairment.

  • guardianship and administration orders, which remove freedom for people to make life decisions. People told us that when they were under guardianship or administration they were disconnected from their community, and didn’t have their cultural or health needs met.

  • indefinite detention. This can occur when a person facing a serious charge is considered ‘unfit to stand trial’. They may be kept in jail for longer than what their sentence would be if they were found guilty.

Chapters 8 – 9

Violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation in services and settings

Chapters 8 and 9 focus on violence, abuse, neglect or exploitation at the systems level.

They look mainly at neglect in some important mainstream settings, such as health care, mainstream education, open employment and criminal justice.

A common theme of these experiences is that people with disability are excluded from fully accessing or participating in mainstream systems on the basis of disability. We consider this a form of neglect.

Chapter 9 focuses on the experiences of people with disability in segregated settings.

Segregation is where people with disability live, learn, work or socialise in environments that are designed specifically for people with disability.

They are separate from people without disability. When people are segregated they can’t participate fully in the broader community.

Evidence shows people with disability are sometimes forced into segregated environments because there is a lack of choice about where to live, study, work or socialise.

Forced segregation and excluding people from access to the community can be considered forms of abuse and neglect.

Chapter 10

The cost of violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation

Chapter 10 looks at the economic cost of violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation to people with disability and to Australian society more broadly.

We commissioned research that estimates the total cost to be a $46 billion a year.

More information

For more information about our Final report, and to access all volumes, visit our website. Go to the 'Publications’ section and click on 'Final report'.