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Accommodating Violence: The experience of domestic violence and people with disability living in licensed boarding houses. Word 632kb | PDF 760kb

Click here for details about PWDA's Boarding House Individual Advocacy Project. 

February 2011: Progress for Licensed Boarding Houses in NSW

2010: ADHC releases Licensed Residential Centres Compliance Practice Guide

In 2010 the Youth and Community Services Regulation for all licensed boarding houses accommodating people with disability came into force.  To assist Licensees, Licensed Managers and staff of licensed boarding houses to understand and interpret the new Regulation, the NSW Department of Human Services, Ageing, Disability and Homecare (ADHC) has developed a Licensed Residential Centres Compliance Practice Guide. 

Click here to read this Compliance Practice Guide is on the ADHC’s website PDF

PWDA welcomes the release of this important document as it not only provides guidance for the application of the Youth and Community Services Regulation 2010 to operators of licensed boarding houses but will also greatly assist service providers and others involved in supporting people with disability living in this sector. The need for clarification and interpretation of requirements expected from licensed boarding houses has been a key lobby point for PWDA for some time.

Importantly these Guidelines also clarify the guidelines and practice approach Licensees, Licensed Managers and staff of licensed boarding  houses should use to address issues of abuse, referring them to the ADHC Abuse and Neglect Policy and Procedure; the ADHC Behaviour Support Policy; and Interagency Protocol for responding to Abuse of Older People as a minimum standard of practice around responding to abuse and neglect issues. The lack of policy and practice guidelines for licensed boarding houses around domestic violence, and abuse generally, was a critical issue and key advocacy component of PWDA’s 2009/2010 Disability and Domestic Violence Project and associated report published last year. Clarification that licensed boarding houses should refer and use these existing policies for guidance on preventing and responding to abuse and neglect issues addresses the void in policy in this area for the  first time.

ADHC have also made a commitment to produce this guide in Easy English and formats accessible by people with disability living in licensed boarding houses.

December 2010: Boarding House Referral Options

December 2010: Setting the record straight - evidence of domestic  violence experienced by people with disability living in licensed boarding  houses

On 3 December 2010 the  Minister for Disability Services and Ageing, Disability and Home Care (ADHC)  publically discredited People with Disability Australia’s (PWDA) report on domestic violence in NSW licensed boarding houses, 'Accommodating Violence' for its lack of legitimacy and evidence. In response to this criticism, we would like to set the record straight on two accounts.

Firstly, ADHC Metro South Region were members of the Project Advisory Group guiding the Disability and Domestic Violence Project from the start, and as such had ample opportunity over the 12 months of the project to have input into the project, including voicing any concerns with the methodology used by PWDA in collecting and compiling the data which informed the report.

The ADHC Central Office staff were interviewed for guidance on policy for responding to abuse and neglect in licensed boarding  houses as part of the policy analysis component of the project and they also participated in two disability services workshops held during the project.

At no stage did ADHC raised concerns with PWDA about the quality of the research or project methodology, nor was this feedback provided by ADHC in their comments to the draft report.  Secondly, the Minister’s office and ADHC are now discounting the report, stating it “provides no evidence to back up claims that  domestic violence is a daily lived experience of people with a disability living in licensed boarding houses” (‘Boarding Houses Unsafe’, Sydney Morning Herald, 3 December 2010).

We acknowledge the lens provided by a domestic violence context is new to this residential setting and the domestic relationships which exist within them. It is a lens which had not been considered by most stakeholders involved in this project, including ADHC.  Indeed this was one of the findings of 'Accommodating  Violence' and one of the many barriers to effective prevention and response to violence and abuse in licensed boarding houses. However, it is misleading of the Minister and ADHC to suggest that there is no evidence to back up claims that domestic violence is a daily lived experience of people with a disability living in licensed boarding houses, when issues of violence and abuse of people with disability living in licensed boarding houses is so well known and documented.

PWDA reiterates some of the evidence which was used to inform the report 'AccommodatingViolence: The experience of domestic violence and people with disability in licensed boarding houses'  as well as provide some additional information on this issue: