People with disability call for an end to violence and neglect

17 July 2019

Violence and neglect against people with disability is a national crisis and must be addressed urgently by all levels of government and disability services.

“Tonight, Eden Camac and his family bravely shared his story of the terrible injury and neglect that was done to him, and the immense harm this has caused,” said Matthew Bowden, Co-CEO of People with Disability Australia.

“Every part of the disability, health and justice systems failed Eden, and added significantly to the trauma he experiences. Eden is still waiting for answers and for people to be held accountable for what happened to him.”

Eden Camac was severely injured in his group home, then left without medical attention for 10 hours. When he was in hospital, he was not offered the same treatment as non-disabled people, the police refused to press charges and nine months later, Eden and his family are still looking for answers.

“Eden is strong and resilient, and has worked hard to recover from his extensive injuries. But we are angry and devastated by what happened to Eden, and how hard it has been to get justice,” said Sharon Camac, Eden’s mother.

“I want to make sure this never happens again, to Eden, or to any other person with disability. We need to see structural changes that will prevent future neglect like this.”

“Eden has a right to live his life free of violence and neglect, just like everyone else. We want his story to help people understand what happens to far too many people with disability every day,” said Michael Camac, Eden’s father.

“The upcoming Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability will examine these very systems and structures that lead to people with disability getting hurt, and no one being held accountable,” said Luke Gale, Manager, Individual Advocacy, People with Disability Australia.

“We have been waiting a long time for this national examination of what has to change in Australia for people with disability to be safe from violence.”

“People with disability have been excluded from our justice systems, and deemed to be ‘unreliable witnesses’. We call on the Queensland Government to develop a disability justice plan that will ensure that violence against us isn’t swept under the carpet,” said Mr Bowden.

“We need all levels of government, and the disability support sector, to wake up to the epidemic of violence and neglect against people with disability and start to change.”

“Eden’s story is one we hear every day from people with disability around Australia. This isn’t good enough, that people with disability routinely experience violence in our homes, and can’t get access to justice when we do,” said Mr Gale.


More information:
Dr Megan Clement-Couzner
Senior Policy Officer, violence prevention & access to justice
People with Disability Australia
0431 961689
media@pwd.org.au

About People with Disability Australia: 
People with Disability Australia (PWDA) is a national Disabled People’s Organisation (DPO) that undertakes representation and advocacy to achieve the human rights of people with disability.  Our primary membership is made up of people with disability and organisations mainly constituted by people with disability.  We have a cross-disability focus – we represent the interests of people with all kinds of disability.  PWDA is a non-profit, non-government organisation.

Our vision is of a socially just, accessible and inclusive community, in which the human rights, belonging, contribution, potential and diversity of all people with disability are recognised, respected and celebrated with pride.  This vision underpins everything that we do.