Submission to the Disability Royal Commission.

On Sunday, I made an official submission to the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability. I feel that my submission is one that needed to be made, as I have suffered from systematic neglect and exploitation for almost 8 years. The following is my submission, which I have reworked for this blog post.

Incidents of violence, abuse, neglect, and/or exploitation

Have you been or are you aware of a person with disability being exposed to violence, abuse, neglect or exploitation?

Yes, this submission pertains to my experiences living in a shared supported accommodation facility run by a disability service provider.

What happened?

On numerous occasions I have written about my experiences of neglect and systematic exploitation at the hands of the service provider.  You can find these on my blog: https://petergibilisco.wordpress.com/

In particular, https://petergibilisco.wordpress.com/2019/04/29/a-possible-submission-to-the-royal-commission/ was intended to be a submission to the Royal Commission.

Did it happen once or a number of times?

It is an ongoing issue.

Complaint processes and outcomes

Have you made a complaint about violence, abuse, neglect or exploitation on your own behalf or on behalf of a person with disability?

I complained previously, in 2017.

What was the complaint?

About the standardisation of care practices which leads to the neglect of individualistic care needs. In my blog, I have written about instances where this type of standardisation has led to physical harm and injury on my person, including but not limited to fall risks and hospitalisation.

Who did you make the complaint to?

The Disability Services Commissioner Victoria (ODSC)

Was the complaint followed up?

No, it was not properly and thoroughly followed up as it should have been.

What was the outcome of the complaint?

No positive outcomes had come of this issue by complaining to the ODSC.

Were you satisfied with the outcome? If yes, why? If no, why not?

I was not satisfied with the outcome of complaining to the disability service provider of this home and the ODSC. This is because there had been no substantial changes made to their care procedures. Despite my being vocal about this matter, standardised care practices for the sake of institutional efficiencies are still being conducted at the risk of residents such as myself.

Access

Do you have concerns about access to places and services and whether this has placed you

or people with disability at risk of violence, abuse, neglect and/or exploitation?

My main concern is with communication, and the misuse of disability aids. In particular, there is an inefficient buzzer system in place at the home where I live, which effectively disallows me from contacting support workers if I need to. I have written about it in more detail here:  https://petergibilisco.wordpress.com/2019/07/06/another-possible-submission-to-the-royal-commission/

This piece was also intended to be submitted to the Royal Commission. It is simply one example of many in the face of insufficient care provided by disability service providers in group disability homes.

What are your concerns?

That standardised practices increase the rate of systematic neglect and exploitation.

Have you raised those concerns with anybody?

Yes, I have.

Who did you raise your concerns with?

The Department of Human Services and the ODSC.

What was the outcome?

Similar to the previous section, there have been no positive outcomes from complaining about this issue.

Disability specific services

Are you concerned that the quality or safety of disability support services has placed you or people with disability at risk of violence, abuse, neglect or exploitation?

Yes, I am. As stated in previous sections, the poor quality of care is a result of standardised practices put in place to uphold the bureaucratic structure of disability services.

What type of service?

Daily support needed to maintain quality of life – which includes (and is not limited to) assistance with showering, toileting, mobility, clothing and so on. These services are provided by the disability service provider, through support work staff. These staff follow the standardised practices stipulated by the management – leaving no room for individual support needs. Essentially, although this type of care is very crucial, the standardised way in which they are performed cause more harm than good.

An example of this is how the standardised practices in this care facility have hindered my ability to communicate and form relationships. I have written about it here: https://petergibilisco.wordpress.com/2019/08/04/another-burden-on-my-communication/

What are your concerns?

I am concerned about the safety of residents living in this home. Generalising theory creates a bureaucratic mess, which in turn affects individuals such as myself, who are vulnerable to neglect and exploitation.

Have you raised your concerns with anybody?

Yes, I have.

Who did you raise your concerns with?

The Department of Human Services and the ODSC.

What was the outcome?

No positive outcomes have come of raising these concerns.

A more Inclusive society

What could be done to promote a more inclusive society that supports the independence of people with disability and their right to live free from violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation?

This is another topic which I have written extensively on. There is a need to create a more inclusive society that does not inhibit the rights of people with disability.

Standardised practices are beneficial for the sake of cost-benefit analysis, however, it prevents people with disabilities from truly experiencing independence and inclusivity.

One article I have written recently, examines one-size-fits-all policies and how they harm the individuality of people with disabilities. These one-size-fits-all policies are widely adopted by many disability service providers: https://petergibilisco.wordpress.com/2019/07/28/a-one-size-fits-all-policy-doesnt-fit-anyone/

Another article I have written is on the topic of empathy, and how it is a vital ingredient in the provision of care: https://petergibilisco.wordpress.com/2019/07/17/is-it-possible-to-give-people-with-friedreichs-ataxia-respect/

Any other concerns?

Last year I gained access to the NDIS. For the most part, this has been a positive experience. However, there is one feature of the NDIS that I believe is diminishing the NDIS’ core principles of choice and control. This is the Supported Independent Living (SIL) component. My thoughts are articulated in the following blogpost: https://petergibilisco.wordpress.com/2019/08/11/a-sil-ly-situation/

An example of how the SIL has negatively affected me is also explained in my second open letter to the NDIS. You may read it here: https://petergibilisco.wordpress.com/2019/07/07/another-open-letter-to-the-ndis/

 

Many thanks to my friend and colleague Bruce Wearne, who has inspired me greatly in all my work and who has been my prolific ghost writer, my gratitude also extends to my phenomenal team of academic support workers. Firstly, team leader whose brilliance and courteous behavior has been a surmountable addition to my work, and additionally taking on the role as a ghost writer as well, Christina Irugalbandara whose work means so much to me. Daniella De Bruin whose brilliant and caring nature means so much to me. Also, Ikemi Ivara whose ability to command and control the situation with kindness. Lastly but definitely not least, Mercy Ndegwa who’s continually teaching me how to be a better person.

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Author: petergibilisco

Researcher, author and advocate. Bachelor of Business Accounting, PhD from Melbourne University. Dealing with issues involving disability.

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