COVID reveals some unpleasant truths about Australia and the disabled

Pandemics increase the risk of women with disabilities experiencing domestic violence and other forms of abuse. Not surprisingly, the Royal Commission was told that the experience of persons with disabilities during a pandemic was associated with poor mental health.

It is particularly striking that some witnesses have expressed fear that people with disabilities may have lower priorities for access to life-saving treatments or care simply because they have a disability. This fear was part of a more general theme that people with disabilities felt devalued. Witnesses explained that some of the widely used languages ​​make us feel that they are considered a burden on the community. An intriguing commentary on social media conveys the message that COVID-19 is about “survival of the fittest” and that “survival of the fittest” does not include people with disabilities.

The Royal Commission provides a forum for persons with disabilities to reflect on their experiences and to express their concerns, aspirations, and legitimate demands for the implementation of human rights recognized by the International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities to which Australia is a member. To do.

One of the clear messages from the COVID-19 hearing is that the health, safety and well-being of people with disabilities are just as important as all other Australians. People with disabilities do not burden society.

The Royal Commission is directed by its mandate to investigate what should be done to promote the independence and independence of persons with disabilities and to promote a more inclusive society that supports their right to live free from violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation. It has been. A truly inclusive society will take all the steps necessary to ensure the protection and safety of persons with disabilities in the event of a crisis, as well as the steps that should be taken against all Australians.

This means that people with disabilities should be included in emergency planning from the beginning, their voices sought, and their opinions and living experiences should be incorporated into policies and practices.


The fundamental challenge facing the Royal Commission is to lay the foundation for a more comprehensive society that respects people with disabilities and has a practical effect on the human rights guaranteed by international law.

This requires government legislation and policy reform, but it also changes the attitude of the community towards people with disabilities, whose struggle to achieve autonomy, independence and freedom from discrimination is often overlooked or neglected. You will need.

Today, the Commission begins investigating the barriers to access to safe and quality inclusive education for people with disabilities and their impact on the course of their lives.

Participation in society is a qualification for all Australians. It is the responsibility of all Australians to contribute to inclusiveness.

Ronald Sackville is the chairman of the Royal Commission on violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation of persons with disabilities.

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Place of originCOVID reveals some unpleasant truths about Australia and the disabled

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