What happens when service provision for people with disabilities does not live up to expectations and people are left feeling vulnerable or exposed in their own living environment?

This is just one of the discussion topics on the agenda at next week’s Human Rights Forum – a collaboration between Griffith University and Queensland Advocacy Incorporated – where people with disabilities and their families and carers, will share knowledge and experiences around the six priority areas of the National Disability Strategy 2010-2020.

Madonna Nicoll is a committee member for the social advocacy organisation Speaking Up for You, and will be one of the presenters at this week’s forum at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre.

Having spent many years in an institutional setting and in-home supported living environments due to her confinement to a wheelchair, Ms Nicoll will be talking about some of the harmful experiences that occur among people with disabilities in these circumstances.

Service provision far less than a respectful experience

“I spent a lot of time in different care situations both growing up and as an adult and I can tell you there were many instances where the service provision was far less than a respectful experience.

“There wasa time when I was left in a corridor in the institution by a support worker, with just a towel around me after a shower,” she remembered.

“A group of businessmen were at the same time, being shown around the facility and the support worker was nowhere close by to help me out of such a humiliating situation.

“That was just one experience but believe me, to this day I have heard of many other far worse instances where people with disabilities have undergone moments of very impersonal service provision, often with workers who have next to no training. It happens and it happens frequently.”

The National Disability Strategy provides a ten-year national policy framework for improving life for Australians with disability, their families and carers.

It represents a commitment by all levels of government, industry and the community to present a unified, national approach to policy and program development. This Strategy aims to address the challenges faced by people with disability, both now and into the future.

This Forum will identify just how far we have come and what has yet to be done.

The Human Rights Forum is being held at a crucial time as we pass the halfway point in COAG’s 2010-2020 National Disability Strategy, says Dr Margaret Ward from Griffith’s Menzies Health Institute Queensland.

“Australia is a signatory to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability (CRPD) and as such, we have an obligation to ensure that people with disabilities are not left in a position whereby their human rights may be compromised.

“This Forum will aim to review the six priority areas of the NDS to improve the lives of people with disability, identify the gaps in the 2015-2018 implementation plan and enlist action to ensure the original commitments made by COAG are met.”