Report - Public hearing 13 - Preventing and responding to violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation in disability services (a Case Study)
Report of Public hearing 13: Preventing and responding to violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation in disability services (a case study)
The Disability Royal Commission held a public hearing in Sydney in May and September 2021.
The hearing, Public hearing 13, looked at the experiences of people with disability living in a group home in western Sydney. The group home was run by Sunnyfield Disability Services.
Some of the people with disability living in the group home experienced violence and abuse by two support workers at the home.
A guardian of one of the residents complained about the way the group home was run. Sunnyfield decided to evict the resident from the home. The relationship between the guardian and Sunnyfield broke down.
The hearing focussed on Sunnyfield’s role and responsibility in keeping its residents safe, and in preventing and responding to violence and abuse.
Family members of two of the residents gave evidence at the hearing. The CEO of Sunnyfield also gave evidence.
We have written a report about this hearing.
Findings and recommendations
The report makes 24 findings. They include:
- In deciding to evict one of the residents from the group home, Sunnyfield put its own interests over the resident’s; specifically her right to a secure and safe home.
- Sunnyfield management responded to complaints made by the families about the carers in a hostile and defensive way. This contributed to the mistrust between the families and Sunnyfield management and staff. This contributed to the mistrust between the families and Sunnyfield management and staff
- Sunnyfield’s policies and practices failed to protect its residents, and failed to prevent violence against them.
- The Board of Sunnyfield did not include anyone with disability and did not consult people with disability before making decisions that affected the residents.
An important recommendation in the report is that the CEO and members of the Board should meet with the residents, or their families, to:
- apologise for Sunnyfield's failures to prevent the violence and abuse they experienced
- discuss what redress, (eg money to compensate for what they experienced), or additional supports and help they require.
You can read the full report on our website. Search ‘Public hearing 13 report.’