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Understanding Abuse

Understanding abuse is about recognising abuse as a violation of a person's human rights. A focus on what makes life good for each person is the best way to enable rights and minimise risk of abuse. It is also about knowing what signs to be aware of that abuse is happening or has taken place.

Online Human Rights Training

Human Rights and You

Human Rights are the foundation of the Zero Tolerance framework. Human Rights and You is a new national video-based e-learning program for disability support workers about why human rights matter when supporting people with disability. It explores topics including:
  • What are Human Rights
  • Rights and Responsibilities
  • When Rights Go Wrong
  • Asking for Help

This short and informative program takes around 30-minutes to complete. A Human Rights and You workbook (with accessible version) is available for use with the program. 
What this short animation to learn more about Human Rights. 


Understanding Abuse

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‘Understanding Abuse’ e-learning program

A 30-minute video based e-learning program for disability support workers. Three modules with printable worksheets help facilitate personal and group reflection and a commitment to action.

There are three options for accessing the Understanding Abuse e-learning modules

  1. Access the course directly here. Please note, completion of the course is not tracked from this site
  2. To access the course with your progress tracked (including certificate of completion), and to access a range of NDS training, log in to the Learning Management System here
  3. To enquire about using the course in your organisation's Learning Management System, contact The Learn and Develop Team. An administration fee of $350.00+GST applies

    NDS acknowledges the funding from the Victorian and Western Australian Governments which allowed this program to be developed.
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‘Understanding Abuse’ Learning Bites

The ‘Understanding Abuse’ Learning Bites are 3-5 minute videos addressing eight life areas. They can be used to promote discussion and personal reflection by support workers. Each Learning Bite has a printable worksheet to be completed and signed off by the supervisor.

“I really benefited from the videos, and being able to hear what others saw in the scenarios.”

Access the Learning Bites here:

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‘Understanding Abuse’ downloadable worksheets

These easy-to-use worksheets promote reflection, team discussion and action through simple personal and team exercises.

Includes checklists to help support workers to recognise instances of good, poor and abusive practice, and to take action.

Download the Learning Bite worksheets here (PDF 1.72MBWORD 135KB)

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‘Understanding Abuse’ Guide for Supervisors

Provides useful information for supervisors to use ‘Understanding Abuse’ with staff. Offers additional training information, scenarios and links to other relevant training and resources.

Download the Guide for Supervisors here (PDF 1.20MB, WORD 4.20MB)

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‘Empowerment Circle’ diagram

The Empowerment Circle can be used to help you think about how people can be more empowered in all areas of their lives, and to recognise poor or neglectful practice, abuse and crime.

Download Empowerment Circle (PDF 200KBWORD 42KB)

Links to other useful resources:

National Disability Services would like to acknowledge the funding from the Victorian Government which allowed these resources to be developed.

Contact information

For more information contact Mary Lou McPherson, National Practice Lead - Zero Tolerance, (03) 8341 4300, ; or Dave Relf, National Practice Lead - Zero Tolerance, (03) 8341 4300,

© 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.