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Give Ashley Peacock the life he deserves

The New Zealand Disability Support Network

Ashley Peacock is not a criminal – give him the life he deserves

18 July 2016


Disability support providers are calling on the Ministry of Health to end Ashley Peacock’s seclusion and fund the real support plan on offer.

The New Zealand Disability Support Network represents around than 150 non-government disability support providers. That includes Community Connections, the organisation that has put its hand up to provide Mr Peacock’s care and is already working well with him.

NZDSN Chair Wendy Becker says members are concerned where any rights of a person with a disability are compromised – and with the Chief Ombudsman concerned enough to be considering a special inquiry – this case is clear.

“What is currently being provided for Ashley Peacock appears to deny him the basic rights of dignity and respect, in breach of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities,” Ms Becker says.

“Yes, we are told that Ashley has lashed out in the past - yes he needs support for his mental health, autism and intellectual disability. A lack of control over a person’s environment and a lack of choice are well recognised contributors to challenging behaviour.

“We know that with the right support, customised to the individual’s style of communication and needs, the need for other forms of control like restraint, and seclusion, reduces considerably.

“Staff from Community Connections already spend a small amount of time with Ashley – they say he is calm and responding well.

NZDSN has several members with the capacity and skills to work with Ashley Peacock, including providing and coordinating mental health support. But Wendy Becker notes that across the sector providers are struggling with tightening government contracts and uncertain futures.

“Pay rates are a significant factor,” Ms Becker says. “Cases like Ashley’s are complicated – he deserves to be supported by skilled workers who are properly paid.

“At the end of the day it seems clear that Ashley Peacock is not having a good life, and yet he knows what he wants to be doing, and where he wants to be.

“NZDSN expects any service offered to a person with a disability will address their aspirations and interests, and help that person to move towards a good life within the best home environment possible.

“It’s what anyone deserves.”

ends

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