Children with disability have a right to a safe childhood

19 July 2016

Leading disability group will give evidence about the shocking levels of abuse of children with disability at today’s hearing of the Royal Commission into the Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in Sydney.

“This public hearing has laid bare some of the dark history of sexual abuse against children with disability, across Australia. The stories that we have heard in the last few days of hearings are shocking and appalling. They clearly show that disability services can be unsafe places for children with disability,” said Matthew Bowden, Co-CEO of People with Disability Australia.

“Children and young people with disability have the same rights to safety as all other Australian children, and we are pleased that the Royal Commission has recognised this issue.”

“The factors that make children with disability vulnerable to abuse are segregation from the community, a lack of criminal justice response of abuse claims, a lack of accessible sex and relationships education and disability services not taking complaints seriously. It is not their disability. Disability services need to listen to children with disability and their families when they raise allegations of abuse, instead of seeing these allegations as a PR problem to be managed.”

“Current oversight procedures do not work – we have heard that organisations that passed audits with flying colours did not take allegations of abuse against children with disability seriously.”

“Today’s public hearing highlights a small part of what is a national epidemic. We sincerely thank this Royal Commission for leading the way in addressing this aspect of child abuse in Australia,” said Mr Bowden.

The hearing will be held at Level 17, Governor Macquarie Tower, 1 Farrer Place, Sydney.
PWDA will begin giving evidence from 10am.

More info:
Media and Communications Manager
People with Disability Australia
Phone: 0491 034 479