ALHR deeply concerned about delayed police reporting of alleged assault of people with disabilities
Australian Lawyers for Human Rights (ALHR) is deeply concerned by reports last week of the ACT Government’s mishandling of alleged assault and abuse of people with disabilities in institutional settings in Canberra.
Nathan Kennedy, President, ALHR explains “the right for people living in institutional and residential settings to be free from exploitation, violence and abuse is protected under article 16 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CPRD).”
ALHR questions the ACT Government’s handling an incident regarding the alleged assault of Gary Comerford, a person with an intellectual disability, by a support worker in an ACT government-run disability group home, and expresses further concern that the incident was not reported immediately to the police for investigation and instead referred to an HR consultancy for examination. Mr Kennedy expresses concern “that the issue of alleged assault and abuse of people with disabilities appears to be an ongoing issue in Australia that requires urgent address.”
Mr Kennedy urges that “where a person with a disability has been abused, assaulted or neglected, it is imperative that they are awarded equal recognition before the law and access to justice. The right of people with disabilities to have equal recognition before the law under article 12 of the CPRD must be recognised and promoted.”
ALHR calls on the ACT Government to take stronger action to ensure that allegations of abuse of people with disabilities in institutional and residential settings are taken seriously, and ensure that such matters are referred to the police to ensure equal access to the justice system. Mr Kennedy proposes “specific legal and government policy framework be introduced, which addresses violence and abuse of people with disability, including reporting, investigation and prosecution for the exploitation, violence and abuse of people with disabilities.”
Media Contact: Natalie Wade, Chairperson, Disability Rights Subcommittee E: firstname.lastname@example.org M: 0413 174 195