Days are numbered for Restrictive Practices

People with Disability Australia (PWDA) is proud to be part of the Disabled Peoples’ Organisations Australia (DPOA) delegation to the 16th session of the United Nations Conference of State Parties (COSP) to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).

25 July 2023

PWDA welcomes today’s release of the Disability Royal Commission’s Research Report on eliminating restrictive practices. As a disability representative organisation of and for people with disability, we strongly believe that restrictive practices are discriminatory and must end. PWDA therefore urges the Disability Royal Commission to make this recommendation in their final report.

“For too long, people with disability have experienced violent practices such as seclusion and restraint that is not only a traumatic violation of our human rights, but is also state-sanctioned within current state and territory laws,” said Nicole Lee, PWDA’s President.

The Report, titled Restrictive Practices: A pathway to Elimination, acknowledges the past and present violence that people with disability face when subjected to restrictive practices and forced treatment, which aligns with the lived experience of people with disability.

“The Report particularly highlights that restrictive practices create life-long trauma, a distrust in services, and have life-long impacts,” said Ms Lee.

PWDA sees the Report’s eight-point plan as being a comprehensive first step. However, we need to turn aspiration into action. Two important and urgent areas for action are to abolish segregated, closed and involuntary treatment settings where restrictive practices are used. Secondly, PWDA supports the Report’s calls for acknowledging past wrongs and the introduction of a National Redress Scheme that supports people with disability who are past and present victim-survivors.

As we await the Disability Royal Commission’s Final Report, and the Government’s response, we urge all levels of government to start working through how they will act to end and prevent contemporary forms of segregation and institutionalisation of people with disability.

“Part of bringing deinstitutionalisation to reality is to unlock the doors on institutional settings, abolish forced treatment and stop separating us from our peers without disabilities – in schools, workplaces and the places we live and interact with the world around us,” said Ms Lee. “While we are locked behind closed doors, separated and segregated, a culture of silence, control and abuse continues.” ENDS


Lizzy Fowler, PWDA Media and Communications

0491 034 479

People with Disability Australia Incorporated (PWDA) is a national disability rights and advocacy, non-profit, non-government organisation. We have a cross-disability focus, representing the interests of people with all kinds of disability and our membership is made up of people with disability and organisations mainly constituted by people with disability.