News | 7 October 2016

The Zero Tolerance approach

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Participant encouragement - community

“Very informative”, “Easy to understand”, “Allowed people to feel comfortable to speak up” – this is just some of the feedback that participants in the new Zero Tolerance program are providing.

Zero Tolerance is an initiative developed and led by National Disability Services (NDS), the peak body for non-government service providers to ensure that service providers focus on the rights of people living with disability and target abuse.

It offers a growing range of resources online and face-to-face forums to improve prevention, early intervention and response to abuse, neglect and violence experienced by people with disability.

A key component of Zero Tolerance is the Understanding Abuse e-learning program.

“We’re receiving highly positive feedback and hearing a lot of enthusiasm,” said James Bannister, Senior Sector Development Officer at National Disability Services.

James believes the positive feedback is in part as a result of close consultation with people with disability, direct support workers and the disability sector in the development of the program.

The program is steadily rolling out across the sector with support from VALID, Victoria’s leading advocacy organisation for adults with intellectual disabilities and their families, and Inclusion Australia.

NDS and VALID are hosting shared forums for people with disability, direct support workers and supervisors to promote Understanding Abuse and VALID’s Staying Safe program.

Forums have recently taken place in Victoria, Tasmania and the Northern Territory and more are scheduled in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria before the end of the end of the year.

James said the forums encouraged participants to promote the online resources in their workplaces and across their networks, broadening the reach of the Zero Tolerance message.

He says Zero Tolerance aims to empower people with disability to benefit from the range of choices offered by the National Disability Insurance Scheme and to do that with the security of knowing the Zero Tolerance program aims to safeguard their rights.

“It is a personal and organisational commitment to always have our eyes open and always be doing better to support rights,” James says.

Every Australian Counts supporters have told us that supporting providers to look after the rights of people with disability is a key issue under the NDIS.

Zero Tolerance is a great approach that will work alongside the long awaited Quality and Safeguards Framework once it is finalised.

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