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The Australian Federation of Disability Organisations (AFDO) commends Human Rights Watch for the comprehensive and harrowing report released yesterday into the abuse and neglect of people with disability in Australia’s prisons.  AFDO notes the particular focus of the report on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders with disability.  We urge all levels of government to move quickly to implement the recommendations of the report.

“We are appalled that in 2018 people with disability are suffering horrific abuse in Australia’s prisons.  Abuse and violence of people with disability is common across the entire corrective services system, said Mr Joyce, CEO of AFDO.  We have been concerned for some time about the over-representation of people with disability in the criminal justice system.  In Australia, many people with disability remain detained in prisons or forensic facilities due to a lack of support or accommodation.”

We call on the Prime Minister and Federal Government to immediately implement the first recommendation from the November 2015 Senate Community Affairs Reference Committee Report to conduct a Royal Commission into Violence Abuse and Neglect of People with Disability.  We further call on the Government to include in the Commission terms of reference, people with disability who are detained in prisons and forensic facilities in Australia.

Women with cognitive disabilities, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders with disability, people with psychosocial disability, brain injury, or intellectual disabilities are disproportionately over-represented in Australia’s prisons.

“Australians have watched for too long the argument between state-based Disability Services and Corrective Services about who holds responsibility for people with disability in Australian prisons; this report highlights what can happen to vulnerable people in all forms of institutions”, said Mr Joyce.

The full report by Human Rights Watch can be accessed via this link.

For more information please contact Mr Ross Joyce on 0402 842 040.