Human Rights Act
QAI was involved in the steering committee of the alliance which initiated the campaign for a Human Rights Act for Queensland which culminated in passage of the Human Rights Act 2019 (Qld). QAI has long considered the introduction of legislative protection for fundamental human rights a key safeguard to protect and defend the rights and lives of the most vulnerable people with disability in Queensland.
This campaign was initiated in 2015 and was a collaborative effort involving over forty different community organisations representing a diversity of vulnerable Queenslanders. QAI was involved in the campaign steering committee from its inception and auspiced the campaign to give it legal status. In all of our campaign work, we ensured that the rights and needs of people with disability were a core focus.
The Human Rights for Queensland Alliance raised community awareness and support for legislative protection of human rights, lobbied key Members of Parliament and provided input into the preferred content and form of the Act.
In 2019, five years of consistent work, including brainstorming, strategising, lobbying politicians, raising public awareness, writing letters and submissions, appearing at public hearings, hosting events and engaging with the media, was rewarded with the passage of the Human Rights Act 2019 (Qld) in February 2019.
Stand with us!
In March 2021, QAI joined a partnership of 15 independent disability advocacy organisations to form the Queensland Disability Advocacy Alliance and launch the Stand with us! campaign. The Alliance came together to campaign for ongoing funding for disability advocacy services in Queensland, funded only until June 2021.
Over a number of weeks, Alliance members actively campaigned by:
- Holding meetings with several Members of State Parliament
- Sending letters to all Members of State Parliament
- Launching a dedicated campaign website, inviting community members to pledge their support by signing up to the campaign
- Holding rallys on Wednesday 24 March, 2021, with supporters gathering outside Queensland Parliament House in Brisbane and the local MP’s office in Rockhampton.
Disability Violence Project
One of the key messages from the highly successful “Walk the Talk” forum was that people with disabilities were most vulnerable to violence within their own homes.
After the forum, Queensland Advocacy commenced a project that addressed violence against people with disabilities.
Research within this area demonstrated significant gaps around awareness not just from the wider community but from the victims of violence themselves. An analysis of resources available both in Australia and overseas and a systematic review of the literature demonstrated an emerging theme of an overall lack of recognition of disability-specific violence. Other common themes that emerged from the research showed that people with disabilities, particularly those with intellectual impairments, were struggling to find any resources or campaigns that spoke directly to them through the use of accessible and visual mediums. Other significant findings included the grossly inadequate response from the community and first responders towards violence against people with disabilities with the winding thread of diminishing and disbelieving victims through-out all of the research.
We invited participants from the workshops from the “Walk the Talk” forum to join a collaborative to brainstorm ways in which we could contribute to the space of disability-specific violence. From these meetings and in response to the research findings, the Disability Violence Project was born, with a view to addressing the contributing factors that feed the epidemic of disability-specific violence.
This project involved the creation of an innovative response to violence against people with disabilities within residential settings including institutions, group homes, nursing homes, boarding houses, hostels, and public housing and private dwellings. The project aimed to increase awareness and understanding amongst victims, families and the wider community about the level of violence affecting people with disability and the supports available and how to access help.
The response was in the form of the development of two educational pamphlets, five short educational videos, establishing a Facebook page and convening a forum to raise awareness both of the issues and the resources.
QAI collaborated with Women’s Legal Service and with Women with Intellectual and Learning Disabilities (WWILD) to conceptualise the idea and workshop ideas. We collaborated with the TAFE Access and Equity Program to prepare, record and perform the educational videos. We commissioned Hayley Marrs, a talented local artist with disability, to design and produce the artwork for the educational pamphlets.
The forum was held at Brisbane City Hall and was a successful event, including a keynote presentation by then Australian Disability Discrimination Commissioner Alastair McEwin, performances by the student actors from the TAFE Access and Equity Program and the launch of the educational pamphlets. We are continuing our work on this project, with the next step development of a dedicated Disability Violence Project website.
The project was supported by funding by Legal Aid Queensland, via the Community Legal Education Collaboration Fund and by a Brisbane City Council CSO Funding (Lord Mayer’s) Grant. QAI gratefully acknowledges this financial support which made the project possible.