Skip to main content

First Nations People with disability

  • Issues papers
Publication date

Our issues paper on the experiences of First Nations people with disability is asking the public to share their views about what they think governments, institutions and communities can do to prevent violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation of First Nations peoples with disability. We are interested in examples of laws, policies and practices in different settings that are not working or working well. This can be in areas such as education, healthcare, workplaces, the justice system, home, online communities, and families.

Responses were received from people with disability, parents and family members, academics and organisations.

How to respond

Further responses to the First Nations Issues paper can be made via the submissions process.

Responses can be in any language. The Royal Commission will translate the response to English.

Please indicate if you consent to your responses being made public on our website.

Issues paper (Auslan) - The experience of First Nations People with Disability in Australia

 

First Nations people with disability issues paper

This is about the Royal Commission into Violence Abuse Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability.

They have produced an issues paper on an important topic.

They are interested in the experiences of First Nations people with disability.

They would like your feedback on this topic.

Your response will help them in their work.

Background

First Nations people with disability face particular challenges in their day-to-day lives.

This includes accessing education, healthcare and work.

It also includes having contact with the criminal justice system and child welfare system.

Research shows that First Nations people with disability are at greater risk of harm than the rest of the population.

For example First Nations people with disability are more likely to experience ongoing, repeated physical violence.

They are more likely to be removed from their family, or have relatives removed from their family.

First Nations people are often in gaol with undiagnosed cognitive disability.

Often the harm they experience is associated with stigma or a lack of cultural understanding and is a form of discrimination.

What we want to know

The Disability Royal Commission wants to know what governments, institutions and communities can do to prevent violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation of First Nations people with disability.

The Disability Royal Commission wants to know about laws, policies and practices that are not working, or working well.

This applies to the community, on-line, education, healthcare, workplaces or the justice system.

The Disability Royal Commission is interested in ways to expand initiatives that are led by First Nations Peoples that protect the rights of First Nations people with disability.

How to respond

At the end of the issues paper is a list of questions.

You do not have to answer every question. You can respond in any way you like.

You can respond in writing or by a video recording. Then send it to the Disability Royal Commission.

To read the full issues paper, and for more details on how to respond, go to the Policy & Research section on their website.

Overview Auslan

Overview of responses to the Experience of First Nations People with Disability in Australia Issues paper (Auslan)

 

Overview of responses to First Nations Issues paper

Introduction

In June 2020 we asked First Nations people with disability, their families and communities about their experiences of violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation.

We collected lots of responses and have published an overview of what we were told. This information will help inform our work and our recommendations to make a better society for people with disability.

This video highlights some key issues of what people told us.

What did people say?

People told us that systems like prisons, health services, out of home care and the National Disability Insurance Scheme were failing First Nations people with disability. For example, First Nations organisations may not understand the needs of people with disability. And disability organisations may not understand the cultural needs of First Nations people.

Over representation – People said there was an over representation of First Nations people with disability in out of home care, the criminal justice system and guardianship settings. People said that this was because of ‘systemic neglect and abuse’.

Lack of culturally appropriate services – People told us there weren’t enough services tailored to the needs of First Nations people that understood their issues. And that there weren’t enough First Nations people in the disability workforce. This means First Nations people don’t get the help they need, and they can be excluded and neglected.

Lack of access to supports – People said the disability sector is hard to navigate and understand. This could be because of language barriers and reliance on written information (this also makes it difficult for people who are blind). The First Nations workforce and First Nations people with disability say information needs to be clearer.

Racism – People said they experience racism in the health system, and as a result they don’t use some health services altogether.

National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) – People said the NDIS is not working for First Nations people with disability and this means they are at higher risk of violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation. The way the NDIS is set up to work means that First Nations people can’t access culturally appropriate services. As a result, Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations are left to ‘plug the gap’ as there are not enough disability services available that are culturally appropriate for First Nations people.

Undiagnosed disability – We heard about the impact when disability is not diagnosed and a person does not get the support they need. This may lead to them being excluded from school, put in out of home care or gaol.

Colonisation and social disadvantage – People said the impact of colonisation affects First Nations people with disability as well as issues like:

  • poverty
  • disease
  • trauma passed through generations
  • access to housing
  • living in remote areas.

More information

For more information, visit the ‘Policy & research’ section on our website.  

www.disability.royalcommission.gov.au