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Webinar takes a stand against abuse of disabled people

Webinar takes a stand against abuse of people with disabilities.

Tuesday 2 December 2014 Tairawhiti Disability Working Group

It all began with one woman’s story that highlighted how difficult it is for people living with a disability and facing abuse to get help and support, says Gisborne Social Sector Trial Manager, Leslynne Jackson. “Her story caused me to question; are people who are dependent on others for their care more likely to be abused? What more can our community do to protect all vulnerable people?

Thanks to Lottery funding these questions and more were answered in a research report released last year by Dr Michael Roguski. His report: ‘The Hidden Abuse of Disabled People Residing in the Community’ was based on interviews with 35 people in Tairawhiti. This included people living with disabilities and their whanau as well as people working in the disability sector or with those that had experienced abuse.

Based on the findings of that research He Wawata - Disability Abuse Conference will be held in Gisborne on Monday 15 December. The aim of the conference is to find ways to break down barriers for people living with disabilities to get the right support when they have experienced abuse. Tairawhiti Disabled Persons Assembly Chairperson, Trudel McKeown says “the conference is being held by webinar so that people from around New Zealand, regardless of impairment, can join the conversation”.

The conference is being organised by a collaboration of community and government agencies working together voluntarily as the Tairawhiti Disability Working Group.

The working group would like to pilot a new service to provide healthy relationships education for people living with disabilities, particularly young people says Mrs Jackson. This would involve raising awareness and promoting inclusive attitudes of people who support others living with disability. The service would also have a role in the investigation of allegations of abuse of disabled people.

Dr Roguski will present his report and a number of recommendations that suggest ways to greatly improve the personal safety for people living with disabilities throughout New Zealand.

“The research report captured the experiences of the study’s participants. I appreciate how difficult it was for them to share their experiences of abuse. This is especially true for those who have been continually silenced by negative social attitudes. Many wanted to share their experiences in the hope that this may contribute to actions that will help other people avoid similar pain. Disability specific abuse can occur to anyone dependent on someone else for their care. When abuse or neglect happens, we expect that the law and our community will keep them safe”

He Wawata - Disability Abuse Conference will be held on Monday 15 December, 9.00am – 1pm in the Rose Room, Lawson Field Theatre, Gisborne or join the conference by webinar. All are welcome and there is no charge to attend. To register go to www.hewawata.co.nz


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