The Public Advocate, Dr Colleen Pearce, has presented Yooralla with the 2021 Public Advocate Award for its outstanding contribution to improving the lives and outcomes for people with disability.
The award recognises Yooralla's commitment to sweeping organisational change, following some residents in Yooralla's care disclosing they had been sexually assaulted.
On its public website, Yooralla transparently discloses these distressing incidents, subsequent investigation and commitment to a "journey of change" to develop and uphold a culture where the human rights of all people with disability who use its services are upheld in accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
"I commend Yooralla for recognising the vital role a safeguards and human rights framework plays in better protecting the rights and well-being of customers from abuse, harm and neglect," Dr Pearce said.
"One of the most important human rights is the right of all people to play an active role in decisions that affect them, and to receive the support they need to do so.
"I was extremely pleased to learn Yooralla has a dedicated customer rights and empowerment team to support people with disability to advocate for themselves.
"And that the organisation takes person-centred approach to supporting customers to live the life they choose.
"I was also pleased to learn more about Yooralla’s risk management system that captures and tracks all incidents, both minor and major.
This enables the organisation to identify and respond to any systemic issues in a timely manner."
The award was presented on 23 February 2021 to Yooralla Chief Executive Officer, Dr Sherene Devanesen, and Board Chair, Jennifer Williams AM.
Yooralla also receiced an original artwork by Robert Croft, a non-verbal and vision impaired artist, known for the tactile quality of his work.