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People with disability in Australia are more likely to experience abuse, neglect, violence and exploitation than people without disability. Every person with disability has the right to feel and be safe. If you think abuse, neglect, violence or exploitation is happening to a person with disability, you need to report it. We all have a responsibility to make our community safe.
National Disability Abuse and Neglect Hotline
The National Disability Abuse and Neglect Hotline (the Hotline) is a free, independent and confidential service for reporting abuse and neglect of people with disability.
Anyone can contact the Hotline, including people with disability, family members, friends, advocates or service providers.
To make a report, call 1800 880 052 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are deaf or have a hearing or speech impairment, you can call the
National Relay Service on 1800 555 677 and ask for 1800 880 052.
If you speak a language other than English, you can use the Translating and Interpreting Service by calling 13 14 50.
The Hotline staff who answer the phones understand the issues in the disability sector and are sensitive to the needs of people with disability. They will ask for your permission to make a report using:
In an emergency, call 000 for ambulance, fire or police services. If you think there has been a crime or a crime is happening, contact your local police.
1800RESPECT is the national sexual assault and domestic and family violence counselling service.
They are a confidential service for people experiencing, or at risk of experiencing, sexual assault, domestic or family violence. Friends, family, workers and professionals can also use this service.
If you, or someone you know, is experiencing sexual assault or domestic and family violence, you can call 1800 737 732.
On the 1800RESPECT website, you can also find a guide to seeking support during coronavirus and self-isolation. As well as resources on supporting people with disability.
There are many different types of violence and abuse, including emotional violence, physical abuse and online violence. Women With Disabilities Australia has created an Easy Read resource that explains each one in more detail. We have included some of these explanations below.
Emotional violence is when someone says or does things that scare you, confuse you or make you feel bad about yourself.
Emotional violence can include when someone:
Physical abuse is when someone hurts your body on purpose. For example, they might:
Sexual violence is when someone forces you to do something sexual without your consent. It can be when someone:
Online violence is when someone is violent to you on the internet or social media. It’s also called cyber-violence or cyber-bullying.
Online violence is when someone:
At the moment Australia is holding a Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability. The Royal Commission was set up because people in the community were worried about how many reports there were of violence, neglect, abuse and exploitation of people with disability. The Royal Commission wants to hear from people with disability, families, support people, organisations and the broader community. They want to better understand the impact of violence, neglect, abuse and exploitation against people with disability.
You can share your experience:
When you talk to someone who may have experienced abuse or violence, it’s important to remember the different ways trauma might affect that person. When they tell their story, listen patiently and reassure them. You can find more information on trauma on the Blue Knot Foundation website.
People with disability may face a range of barriers to speaking up about abuse or violence. To learn more about abuse and disability, visit the Council for Intellectual Disability (CID) website, the Women With Disabilities Victoria website, the WWILD website and the ACT Human Rights Commission website.