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Hierarchies of power: Disability theories and models and their implications for violence against, and abuse, neglect, and exploitation of, people with disability research report

 

 

  • Research
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Research Report (Auslan) - Hierarchies of power: Disability theories and models

 

Research Report (Auslan) - Hierarchies of power: Disability theories and models and their implications for violence against, and abuse, neglect, and exploitation of, people with disability

Professor Shane Clifton has completed a report called ‘The hierarchies of power: Disability theories and models and their implications for violence against, and abuse, neglect and exploitation of people with disability’.

In his report to the Disability Royal Commission, Professor Clifton states that ‘paternalism’ assumes that people with disabilities need to be healed, cared for, supported or managed for their own good, and that it prevents them from living on their own terms.

Professor Clifton, who uses a wheelchair, works for the Royal Commission and the University of Sydney.

Professor Clifton says the problem is not welfare and service provision. Rather the problem is paternalistic attitudes that lead to disadvantage of people with disability.

Paternalism is hard to identify. People in power often look like they are ‘caring’ however their pity-like behaviour only results in disadvantage.

Professor Clifton says without significant changes to personal and cultural values and attitudes, we will continue to leave people with disability vulnerable to direct and systemic violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation.

He also says society’s failure to accept disability as ‘diversity’ means that some people with disability are labelled as ‘abnormal’. They are often left out of society, and under care and control of the system.

People with disability are far from ‘abnormal’; disability is an expression of human diversity.

Professor Clifton says society will be more inclusive when it understands disability theory and supports the independence of people with disability and their right to live free from violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation.

Further, when society understands disability, we will find new and creative ways of working and achieving an inclusive world.

The full report and more information is available on our website in the Policy & Research section.