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Responding to Abuse

Responding to abuse is about being ready to respond appropriately, quickly and effectively to any incidents of abuse, neglect and violence toward people with disability. It is about having clear policy and set actions that organisations are required to take to respond when abuse occurs, including supporting victims and working with authorities.

Responding to Abuse is a set of short films and accompanying guide to help frontline disability workers to think about how to respond quickly and appropriately to abuse, neglect, and violence of people they support.

They include an introduction and seven themed films covering:
  • Recognising early warning signs
  • Being a bystander
  • Understanding trauma
  • A ‘safety-first’ approach
  • Responding to a disclosure
  • Preserving evidence
  • The role of supervisors and managers

Watch the scenario in each film. Press pause and answer the questions provided. Then watch the second clip to hear what others had to say.

More information about all of the topics covered in these films, as well as links to other materials can be found in the Responding to Abuse Guide. PDF | WORD


This short introduction film tells you about the Responding to Abuse films and how you can use them in your organisation
Early Warning Signs

Support worker Hannah recognises that something is not OK for Steve.
Being a Bystander
New support worker Jasmine overhears her co-workers talking about Bradley while they are out at a café.
Understanding Trauma
Support worker Ange is called in at the last minute to work with Mel.
Safety First
Support workers Todd and Joe respond to an incident that happens on the basketball court.
Responding to a Disclosure
Support worker Wally responds to a disclosure from Anton.
Preserving Evidence
Support worker Bonnie comforts Nina after a sexual assault.
The Role of Supervisors
Support worker Billie speaks up when she notices that Jocelyn is not getting the support she needs.

These films were funded by the NSW Government Industry Development Fund and developed with support from the NSW Ombudsman.

NSW Government logo

Content Warning

These films include scenes about abuse of people with disability, which some people may find upsetting. Words or images can cause distress or trigger traumatic memories for survivors of abuse, violence or trauma. Please speak with your supervisor if you need to discuss any of the issues covered in these films. You can also call Lifeline on 13 11 14 for confidential 24-hour telephone crisis support.

Contact information
For more information contact Mary Lou McPherson, National Practice Lead - Zero Tolerance Initiative, (03) 8341 4300, submit enquiry/feedback

© National Disability Services (NDS) 2017 applies to NDS Zero Tolerance logo, Zero Tolerance Framework and The Empowerment Circle.

Copyright permissions
NDS grants permission for users to copy, distribute, display, download and otherwise freely deal with Zero Tolerance resources for any personal or organisational purpose, on condition that proper acknowledgment is included on all uses. Any use of zero Tolerance resources for commercial gain is strictly prohibited.