Disabled People Speak Out

  • Tariana Turia
Disability Issues

Minister of Disability Issues Tariana Turia has commended the courage of disabled people living in Gisborne and Tairawhiti for sharing their stories in research released today, The Hidden Abuse of Disabled People Residing in the Community; an exploratory study by Tairawhiti Community Voice and Dr Michael Roguski.

“The report is a brave account of experiences of disabled persons living in residential services, institutions, homes and the community,” said Mrs Turia.

“The reflections of 44 participants has revealed some core themes including a lack of appropriate monitoring; a low level of awareness of disability abuse; poor management practice and a variety of ‘silencing’ processes – that is experiences by which the participants were pressured to not report abuse.”

“I was also disturbed to read in the report the suggestions that reporting options were frequently inadequate and that existing legislation was found lacking in terms of failing to protect a disabled person during an investigation of abuse.”

“I am totally dedicated towards ensuring that disabled people have a voice. We must learn from their experiences and make changes in response to the issues identified.”

“I am pleased that the Ministry of Health has work underway to improve the quality of its disability support services so that reporting on complaints will be more transparent.
‘Enabling Good Lives’ enable disabled persons to have more choice and control over supports in their lives – we should have a basic expectation that disabled people living in their own homes should have the same opportunities to live a great life as any other citizen.”

“The report also reminds us that changing attitudes towards disabled people is fundamental to a better future. I am hopeful that the Think Differently campaign will promote attitudinal and behavioural change which will put a stop to any further exploitation or abuse, hidden or otherwise.”

“I am determined that our legislation must protect the rights of disabled peoples under the law; and as such I have referred specific recommendations in this report to the Family Violence Taskforce for particular analysis of the experiences of disabled peoples which relate to abuse, neglect and violence.”

“I want to thank Tairawhiti Community Voice and Dr Michael Roguski for bringing this report to my attention. I believe it will be a useful foundation resource for both government and non-government agencies, to help develop an appropriate and informed response which best protects and provides for the safety and wellbeing of disabled persons in our communities.”