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Open letter to QDN members and supporters

Like all of you, QDN directors, members and staff are deeply saddened and frustrated by the deaths of Willow Dunn and Ann Marie Smith and the discovery of two disabled teens locked in a squalid Brisbane bedroom.

We know this is a difficult time for the disability community. We also understand that many people with disability have been processing these reports alongside their own experiences of violence, neglect, abuse and exploitation.

QDN has been continuing to raise issues about the impact of violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation in the lives of people with disability. Every child, young person and adult with disability has a right to be safe. As an Australian community, we all need to work together to stop the abuse, neglect, exploitation and violence of people with disability. The Disability Royal Commission is here because of the united voice of the disability community saying enough is enough. It is important that we continue this work and people with disability are supported to speak up.

Independent individual, systemic and self advocacy are fundamental in supporting people with disability to have a voice and advocate for change. Access to advocacy and support that meets the needs of people with disability is critical now more than ever.

QDN’s motto ‘nothing about us without us’ is at the heart of what we do. QDN has written to the State Government with regards to a Bill that was introduced into the Queensland Parliament without consultation with people with disability that included provisions for disability service providers to lock gates, doors or windows for adults  with an intellectual or cognitive disability who are unable to follow public health directions. It is important that people with disability, families and providers are consulted in the planning, implementation and review of any legislation, policy or decision that affects people’s lives and human rights. QDN will continue to advocate strongly for the voice of people with disability to be central to conversations about legislation, policies and services that impact their lives.

We cannot be complacent about the human rights of people with a disability. Everyone in our community has a responsibility to act if you see something that doesn’t look or feel right – whether you’re a support worker, friend, neighbour or colleague. Whether it be talking to a trusted friend, the police if someone is in immediate danger or you can ring the Disability Abuse and Neglect Hotline 1800 880 052 – please act!

QDN will also continue to make submissions and work with the Disability Royal Commission to ensure the voices of our members are heard. This is an important moment in our history to make sure you have your say, so if you would like to contribute to one of the many submissions we are making to the Disability Royal Commission, please don’t hesitate to contact us at qdn@qdn.org.au or on 1300 363 783. Submission topics can be found here.

Finally, if your feel you need to talk to someone, please reach out to one of the support services that are available. Lifeline is a free counselling telephone service that is available 24 hours, 7 day a week on 13 11 14. A list of other mental health support services can be found here.

More than ever, now is the time to look after each other.

Yours sincerely

Paige Armstrong                              Nigel Webb

Click on this link for the full statement:  QDN statement