United Voice, the Union for disability support workers, welcomes the announcement of a $527 million funded Royal Commission into violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation of people with a disability.
Members support a detailed examination of all forms of exploitation and abuse, and in particular a detailed examination of the impediments to effective reporting and timely responses to poor conduct.
United Voice WA Assistant Secretary Karma Lord said Disability members are confident that they play a critical advocate and safeguarding role in the sector, but fear their expertise will be overlooked.
“Members are worried they will be used as scapegoats for much bigger ongoing problems,”
“It’s imperative that this Royal Commission listens to the large workforce of support workers who are passionate, dedicated individuals who form unique and special relationships with people with disabilities,”
“Frontline workers are often the first people to identify poor practices, and take their role as advocates, and sometimes even whistle-blowers, very seriously.”
Currently, Western Australia is transitioning into the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and the Quality and Safeguarding Framework, and we urge the Inquiry to have regard of the effects of transitional issues occurring in our state.
“There is no doubt that there have been significant issues over East regarding the roll out of the NDIS and we believe we've only seen just the tip of the iceberg in how quality care has been compromised,”
“Workers support a well-funded NDIS. We need a system that can afford to employ a workforce that is well paid, trained and has job security because this kind of workforce is our best defence against exploitation of people with disabilities.”
Ms Lord said the rampant casualisation, high staff turnover, and limited staff training puts people with disabilities at risk.
“Our members hope the Royal Commission considers the direct link between quality jobs, quality care, and the prevention of abuse and neglect.”
Ms Lord said United Voice members will be paying close attention to the Royal Commission and are looking forward to having their voices heard.
“Support workers have solutions to share and they want to talk about how to fix reporting systems and lower the instances of violence,”
“Support workers stand side by side with people with disabilities every day. As a team, they want to share their best practices and solutions on how to prevent abuse and neglect for the long term.”
United Voice support workers are an asset and an advocate in preventing the exploitation of people with disabilities and will continue to campaign for a quality sector.