Submission from David Roche, 23 April 2015
Having attended the public meeting in Melbourne on 15 April 2015 I was surprised that the proposals for safeguards did not appear to address the need to protect people form abuse and neglect. The proposals appear to focus of “complaints”. More surprised because of the now very public evidence of abuse and neglect occurring and the reactive response through various government current and promised inquiries and Victorian Ombudsman inquiry.
A preventative approach rather than a reactive response is required. As a consequence I would support and say there is a need for the following:
1. implementation of a Community Visitors Program modelled on the Victoria Office of the Public Advocate’s Program
2. an independent monitoring program such as the above with broader investigative and prosecutorial powers. The current regulatory regime of police, Ombudsman, IBAC like bodies and Disability Discrimination Commissioners etc. does not meet the needs of the disability sector when it comes to the protection of vulnerable people.
3. Victoria’s existing quality assurance system and safeguards of which the Community Visitors Program is a vital element is not diminished and in fact is strengthened. If there is no Community Visitors Program there will be no first line defence against abuse and neglect.
Thank you for the opportunity to participate.