Boarding House Reform
People with disability living in licensed and unlicensed boarding houses face numerous human rights violations, largely due to the out-dated legislative, policy and practice frameworks which govern these forms of accommodation.
The Youth and Community Services Act 1973 (YACS Act) which provides for the regulation of licensed boarding houses accommodating two or more people with disability has been under review by the NSW Government for approximately ten years. PWDA recommends the urgent finalisation of this review.
Grand Western Lodge was a combined PWDA individual and systemic advocacy campaign focused on more than 40 adults with intellectual and psychosocial disability who were residents of “licenced premises for handicapped people” in Millthorpe, NSW between 2000 and 2011.
- March 2012 | Thea Williams - Cast adrift when most in need
- August 2011 | 2UE David Oldfield interviews Matthew Bowden (PWD) and Andrew Constance MP, NSW Minister for Disability Services about Abuse and neglect in boarding houses across NSW
- Dec 2010 | SMH Letter to the Editor “It's a bit late to disown disability abuse report”
- Dec 2010 | SMH Article - Boarding Houses Unsafe
- May 2010 | PWDA Media Release Rights for Boarding House residents – Time to Act!
Publications and Reports
- April | PWDA Submission on the Draft Boarding House Regulation 2013 and associated Regulatory Impact Statement Word 216kb
- September | PWDA advocated on issues of allegations of violence, abuse and exploitation against residents of a licensed boarding house, known as Grand Western Lodge, located in Millthorpe NSW and for the rights of the residents to live lives free from abuse and exploitation.
- August | NSW Ombudsman's special report - More than board and lodging: the need for boarding house reform released on August 17 2011, identified serious concerns about the safety, health, welfare and rights of the residents of licensed boarding houses and the adequacy of the system that is meant to protect them. This report drew on work carried out by the Ombudsman since 2002.
- March | Joint statement from Community Organisations - Reform for marginal renters Word 41kb
- March | Policy Paper by the Tenants' Union of NSW - Reforming marginal renting Word 101kb
- February | Research Summary Report on the Needs of Residents in Unlicensed Boarding Houses PDF 652kb A joint project from the Baptist Community Services and the University of Wollongong funded by NSW Health, supported by MHCC.
February | Progress of Disability and Domestic Violence Project Recommendations (Word 110kb) andGeneric Actions relating to the Disability and Domestic Violence Project Word 36kb
- January | ADHC Licensed Residential Centres Compliance Practice Guide (PDF)
- December | Boarding House Reform Discussion Paper PDF 82kb - NSW Interdepartmental Committee on Reform of Shared Private Residential Services (IDC)
- Referral and Response Options for people with disability living in licensed boarding houses Word 49kb
- September | Accommodating Violence Project
Accommodating Violence: The experience of domestic violence and people with disability living in licensed boarding houses.
Accommodating Violence Report: Word 632kb | PDF 760kb
- September | Youth and Community Services Regulation 2010 - Following ADHC's public consultation on the proposed Youth and Community Services Regulation 2010, the Youth and Community Services Regulation 2010 was remade. It came into force on 1 September 2010.
This Regulation contains obligations for boarding house owners that were previously contained in the amended Youth and Community Services Regulation 2005. The 2010 Regulation clarifies the legal obligations that proprietors need to meet in the day to day operations of licensed boarding houses. PWDA's submission to the Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS) consultation overall welcomed and supported the making of regulations to ensure there is no ambiguity in compliance expectations for Licensees and Licensed Managers and for the protection of human rights of residents with disability in licensed boarding houses. This final remake of the Youth and Community Services Regulation 2010, in our view, failed to take full advantage of the opportunity to address a number of key weaknesses in the proposed Regulation which should have furthered best practice in the services provided by licensed boarding houses, improvements in prevention, detection and response to abuse and domestic violence which are highlighted in the Accommodating Violence Report (Word 632kb) and introduced requirements for regular probity checks for all staff of licensed boarding houses.
ADHC's analysis of the submissions received in relation to the RIS on the proposed Regulation is available here - Youth and Community Services (YACS) Regulation 2010: Report on responses to Regulatory Impact Statement PDF 508kb and ADHC's Summary of the YACS 2010 changes PDF 38kb
- July | PWDA Submission Public consultation on the proposed Youth and Community Services Regulation 2010 Word 527kb
- July | Boarding House Reform in PWDA's response to Stronger Together Word 143kb
- Feb | Draft Residential Tenancies Bill 2009 - PWDA EBulletin 59 February 2010
Further Resources and Information
- Definition of Domestic Violence
- Crimes (Domestic and Personal) Violence Act
- Cases disclosed during the domestic violence and licensed boarding house project
- Feedback from the Disability Services Consultation held as part of the project
- Evidence of systemic vulnerability and risk in licensed boarding houses
- Human Rights Obligations
- New directions for disability services in NSW
- Speeches from the launch of the Accommodating Violence Report
- PWDA Training for Boarding House Residents Word 36kb