First Nations people with disability outline key challenges to Royal Commission

The Disability Royal Commission has prepared a summary of responses from First Nations people with disability and their representative organisations in its “Overview of responses to the Experience of First Nations People with Disability in Australia issues paper”, which was published today.

Respondents told the Royal Commission about the prevalence of disability among First Nations people compared to non-First Nations people.

The Royal Commission was told about the following:

  • Higher rates of blindness and vision loss, head and brain injury among First Nations people;
  • First Nations children are twice as likely to experience disability compared to non-First Nations children;
  • Barriers that can arise for First Nations people with disability accessing supports because there is generally no word for disability in their languages
  • There is an overrepresentation of First Nations people with disability in criminal justice and out-of-home care settings;
  • A lack of reliable data to understand, address and support the needs of children in these circumstances
  • First Nations people with disability are subject to violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation in prisons. This includes First Nations children with psychosocial and intellectual disabilities and
  • Without a proper disability diagnosis, institutional racism can increase harm and vulnerability.

More than half of the respondents referred to ongoing challenges in relation to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). These included:

  • Lack of culturally appropriate services;
  • Difficult application processes;
  • Inadequate funding for remote service delivery and
  • Lack of cultural capability.

First Nations people with disability also raised concerns about their experiences of violence, abuse, neglect or exploitation in health settings. Some of the key challenges included:

  • Restrictive practices;
  • Longer hospital admissions and
  • Access and support issues.

The Royal Commission heard that freedom and independence is important for First Nations people with disability.

Early intervention, funding, data collection, information sharing and culturally safe service delivery were also identified as significant areas for change.

For more information visit the Disability Royal Commission website.