Rachel Browne Sun-Herald journalist
CHILDREN and young adults with disabilities are three times more likely to suffer abuse and neglect than their peers without disabilities, according to a policy paper released on Tuesday.
According to the paper, abuse can often occur in the form of behaviour management.
The paper, prepared by Dr Sally Robinson, of Southern Cross University's Centre for Children and Young People, cited cases of children who had been abused or neglected by school staff.
In one case a school principal admitted telling a mother that he had put her son in a storeroom so ''the other kids were not interrupted while they did their school work''.
In another case, a school hired a martial arts instructor to train staff in behavioural management of disabled children.
The report cited another incident in which the mother of a boy with high-functioning autism was told he could not attend school unless he was medicated, even though it caused him to suffer seizures.
The paper also noted a report of food and drink being withdrawn from children with disabilities, to modify their behaviour.
The report was prepared for advocacy group Children with Disability Australia with the intention of informing debate about protecting the rights of the 492,500 disabled Australians under the age of 24.
Dr Robinson said the vast majority of those caring for disabled children were committed to their work.
''However, the fact remains that we know that kids with disabilities experience abuse and neglect at over three times the rate that children without disability do,'' she said.
She found that abuse and neglect of young disabled people were less likely to be reported as the victims may lack support or the language skills to describe the abuse.
The report recommended the government establish an independent statutory authority to protect disabled children and investigate exploitation, violence and abuse.
The report can be downloaded from http://www.cda.org.au/_literature_132659/Enabling_and_Protecting_Issues_...
- A4 Submission: Royal Commission on abuse of children
- ABC: Disabled children more likely to be abused: report
- AAP/The Australian: Kids with disability abused more: study