Community Visitors Annual Report 2022-2023

The distressing state of affairs for adults with disability and mental health issues in Victoria has been highlighted in the 2022-2023 Community Visitor Annual Report, presented in Parliament this month.

The report discloses troubling instances of abuse, neglect, and violence within disability group homes, Supported Residential Services (SRS), and inpatient mental health facilities.

It underscores the grave consequences of staffing shortages, limited services, and inadequate accommodation options, leading to heightened risks of violence, abuse, and neglect of Victorians with disability and mental health issues, and emphasises the adverse impacts of congregating and segregating individuals with disability and mental health issues. 

“Too many people experience ongoing abuse and neglect with few alternative accommodation or mental health facilities available,” Dr Pearce says.

Dr Pearce congratulates the volunteer Community Visitors for their commitment and tenacity, noting that, “for more than 35 years now, Community Visitors have reported on good and poor practice in the places people with disability and mental health issues live and receive services in Victoria”.

The Community Visitor's Annual Report also included examples where good practices by staff led to residents building skills and making their own choices in their day-to-day life. 

Dr Pearce notes: “On the positive side, I would say: There are many promising changes on the horizon. There are also legislative changes in mental health and disability, and a new Social Services Regulator. We look forward to the government's responding to the Disability Royal Commission’s final report and the recent NDIS Review. We must hold them to account.” 

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