Behind Closed Doors

Prevention of violence, abuse and neglect against Western Australians with disabilities

The lives of people with disability are often secret lives. We are routinely segregated and isolated from our non-disabled peers – we live, work and play in places which are not often frequented by those without disability. Often, we are lonely. If we do not have families, paid staff are sometimes the only people in our lives. We are shut out by barriers to participation in Australian life, and shut in when we are hidden in institutional settings.  It is when we are shut out, and shut in, that violence, abuse and neglect often occurs. The term ‘institutional setting’ does not exclusively define disability service settings.

Under the terms of reference for both this project and the Senate Inquiry into Violence, Neglect and Abuse in Institutional Settings, institutional settings include schools, prisons, group homes, hospitals, detention centres and even family homes. Violence, neglect and abuse was defined equally broadly – it included breaches of privacy, passive neglect and restrictive practices. Read more

Development of a National Disability Employment Framework July 2015

Types of issues and concerns voiced by people with disabilities around employment.

It is through the course of our individual and systemic advocacy work that we have drawn a representative sample of the types of issues and concerns that people with disabilities have expressed around employment. The issues expressed in this submission are drawn from a review of all employment related advocacy work undertaken by PWdWA between January 2013 and June 2015. As PWdWA works across disability, consumers have sought advocacy for issues relating to the spectrum of current employment services and supports including ADE, DES, PhaMs, as well as for concerns related to open employment. We accept that the views expressed by consumers seeking advocacy from PWdWA are the main basis of the information provided in this submission. Read more

Review of the Disability (Access to Premises – Building) Standards 2010 June 2015

 PWdWA welcomes the opportunity to comment on the review of the Disability (Access to Premises Buildings) Standards 2010. It is encouraging that the review will focus on providing people with disability with dignified, equitable, cost effective access to public buildings and facilities and services within buildings and will identify any necessary amendments to the standards.

In providing this submission PWdWA consulted with members  through a combination of social media, group discussions and direct feedback. This submission reflects the views of people with disabilities who are networked with PWdWA. It is vital is that any proposed revisions to the standards are co-designed with people with disabilities. Additionally it is essential that a technical committee comprising of people with disabilities, access auditors and other technical experts be formed to oversee the review process. The Standards are currently not easily accessible as a public document.  This makes it very difficult for people to raise a complaint in relation to the Standards if they cannot access them to check non- compliance.  Read more

Review of the Disability Standards for Education

Consider whether the Standards have assisted people with disability to access and participate in education and training opportunities on the same basis as those without disability.

This will include a review of participation, inclusion and educational support provided to students of all backgrounds, including students in regional, rural and remote areas, students of culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, and Indigenous students.

At the outset we contend categorically that the Standards have a long way to go in assisting people with disability to access and participate in education and training opportunities on the same basis as those without disability.

Schools now operate under a structure of autonomy not experienced even as recently as a decade ago. As schools operate far more as individual entities, so the experience of our members varies considerably from school to school, with some principals and teachers exceeding the expectations of the parents, others meeting them and far too many others falling well short of expectations.

Evidence of the Standards not yet meeting the objects of access and elimination of discrimination is the existence still today of resolutions sought and complaints presented to schools, education department offices, Director General, advocates, advocacy organisations, legal centres, parliamentary representatives, equal opportunities commission and others.  Read more

Consumer rights for people with a disability

We provide information for consumers buying disability-related products and services, including participants under the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

You have rights under the Australian Consumer Law. You have the right to expect that a product or service will do or perform as it should. If not, you may be entitled to a repair, replacement or refund. You have the right to truthful and accurate representations. Sales agents cannot mislead or deceive you. You have the right to fair treatment.

Contact the he Department of Commerce (Western Australia)

Visit the he Department of Commerce website for more information and links:
Department of Commerce

To contact the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) about the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) visit their website at:

Empowering the voices of people with disabilities in Western Australia