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Resident compatibility and violence the focus of RC evidence

green banner that reads Royal Commission Update

9/12/2021

As the hearing continued, emergent themes included: choice and compatibility of co-residents, permanency of staff, choice of provider, and regulatory power.

The Acting NDIS Commissioner continued to be questioned – on the NDIS Commission’s role in reducing resident-to-resident violence, and when it would move from provider education to enforcement. The witness emphasised providers should record minor incidents, which could amount to cumulative harm. When asked what the NDIS Commission’s role was in supporting participants to choose compatible co-residents, the Acting Commissioner said she would need to consider this further in the context of the Commission’s functions.Parents of ‘Rebecca’ and ‘Robert’ gave evidence about violence between residents at the ‘Melbourne house’. Both their children have Autism and intellectual disability.Rebecca’s mother said another resident, ‘Stevie’, would often be physically and verbally abusive to staff and residents, including Rebecca. She wasn’t consulted when Stevie was replaced with another resident who she said also had violent behaviours. After multiple contacts with the Office of the Public Advocate and the Disability Services Commissioner, Rebecca eventually left the house. Her mother said she felt violence had become normalised rather than being addressed in the long term.Robert’s father said his family wasn’t consulted about whom Robert would be living with, and that he wasn’t initially aware they could choose Robert’s Support Coordinator. Through ‘self education’, he learned it was possible to change Supported Independent Living providers, and pursued this with the other residents’ families. He expressed his preference for a smaller provider with a head office closer to the home.Both parents suggested a high turnover of managers and reliance on agency staff contributed to a lack of service quality in the house.Representatives of the Victorian Office of the Public Advocate, and two Community Visitors (CVs) gave evidence. The Public Advocate said resident-on-resident abuse is the most common type of abuse they see across the state.

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