Launch of Great Expectations

Lizzie Blandthorn Colleen Pearce Great Expectations launchThe Minister for Disability, the Hon Lizzie Blandthorn, launched the ground-breaking report, Great Expectations: 35 Years of Community Visitors at Parliament House on 30 November 2023

The report commemorates the unwavering commitment of volunteer Community Visitors in safeguarding the rights of people with disability in Victoria and traces their journey from the program's inception in 1987-88, when they were entrusted with the crucial responsibility of being a voice for people living in the closed and semi-closed settings of institutions to today.

The report highlights watershed moments in the program’s history, including the role of Community Visitors in identifying significant violence, neglect and abuse of people with disability or mental illness in residential facilities, leading to the closure of Caloola, Kew Residential Services, Hambleton House and other facilities, and significant improvement in other facilities.

The event garnered significant attendance, with Community Visitors, Minister Stitt (Minister for Mental Health), the senior representatives from the DFFH, including the Deputy Secretary and other executives. We were honoured to have the Deputy Commissioner from the Disability Services Commissioner and the Human Rights Commissioner in attendance, along with the VALIDate team.

Other speakers included Dr Colleen Pearce, Public Advocate,  Fay Richards, former Board member, Regional Convenor and Community Visitor, and self-advocate Colin Hiscoe.

Photo: The Hon. Lizzie Blandthorn, Minister for Disability with 
the Public Advocate, Colleen Peace. Photo credit: Glass lens photography

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