Preventing and Responding to Abuse and Neglect Policy

Preventing and Responding to Abuse and Neglect Policy

Policy Statement

TASC National Limited (TASC) is committed to preventing and responding to the abuse, neglect and exploitation of people with a disability both in its provided and funded services. In instances, where the abuse, neglect and exploitation of clients does occur, TASC will respond to the abuse, neglect and exploitation of people with a disability within both its provided and funded non-government services.

The human rights principles of the Disability Services Act 2006 include the principle that people with a disability have the same human rights as other members of society and should be empowered to exercise their rights. This is best achieved through an integrated approach that targets the cultural, environmental and interpersonal causes of abuse, neglect and exploitation.

TASC will:

  • Ensure that the health, safety and wellbeing of clients of TASC provided or TASC funded non-government services is the paramount consideration in service provision and that clients are provided with maximum protection from abuse, neglect and exploitation.
  • Promote a culture of no retribution in the case of reporting, including reporting of suspected or alleged abuse, neglect or exploitation or incidents suggestive of abuse, neglect or exploitation.
  • Ensure that there are systems to identify abuse, neglect and exploitation of service users.
  • Ensure timely, adequate and appropriate responses to incidents.
  • Foster best practice through ongoing systems review.
  • Promote an integrated, evidence-based approach to the prevention and identification of and response to abuse, neglect and exploitation, which is supported by ongoing and appropriate workforce development and training.

Objectives

This policy aims to ensure disability rights conferred by the Disability Services Act 2006 are upheld through:

  • Promoting safer communities and better quality services to clients through the implementation of effective measures to prevent, identify and respond to abuse, neglect and exploitation in all TASC provided or funded services; and
  • Ensuring that clients are provided with adequate and appropriate supports for the response to incidents of abuse, neglect and exploitation including support to access complaints mechanisms.

Scope

The principle aim of this policy is to prevent, identify and response to abuse, neglect and exploitation with in disability services that are provided or funded by TASC. The policy is supported by the resource kit developed by Disability Services Queensland that provides tools and strategies for practical application of the policy by service providers.

This policy:

  • Applies to all TASC provided services and consequently to all staff and volunteers within these services; and to any person with a contractual arrangement with a TASC provided service to deliver services and supports to people with a disability;
  • Provides an overarching framework for non-government service providers. Funded non-government service providers must maintain and implement an abuse, neglect or exploitation policy consistent with the department’s policy above preventing, abuse, neglect or exploitation of clients (Disability Services Regulation 2006, Division 3);
  • Forms part of a framework of measures aimed at protecting the health, wellbeing and safety of people with a disability (see Links – Related Government Guidelines or Policy). As such, the scope of the policy does not include measures contained in other policies, for example, critical incident reporting. Nevertheless, meeting the requirements for the Service Provider’s Incident Reporting Policy is a necessary, but not complete, response to the abuse, neglect or exploitation of a person with a disability. The policy complements other safeguards provided to people with a disability through the Disability Services Act 2006 and the Guardianship and Administration Act 2000;
  • Complements the safeguards provided to all Queenslanders through other legislation (see Links – Related Legislation and Standards and Related Government Guidelines or Policy); and
  • Does not cover the abuse, neglect and exploitation of children and adults with a disability in family or community-based settings. These are addressed in the child protection policies developed by TASC. as well as policies developed by other relevant agencies, e.g. the Department of Child Safety, the Office of the Adult Guardian, the Crime and Misconduct Commission and the police (see Links – Related Legislation and Standards and Related Government Guidelines or Policy).

Principles

TASC acknowledges that there are many forms of abuse, neglect and exploitation and demonstrates this through the adoption of the definitions of abuse, neglect and exploitation, which are outlined in Appendix 1. The principles also reflect the human rights and service delivery principles of the Disability Services Act 2006.

Principles of Prevention of Abuse, Neglect, and Exploitation

  • People with a disability have the same human rights within their families, communities and cultures as other members.
  • Strategies to prevent the abuse, neglect and exploitation of people with a disability include the reduction of isolation and the enhancement of social connections.
  • People at-risk would be provided with tailored advice and support. This includes appropriate skill development for people with a disability in improving personal safety and capacity for safe participation in their communities.
  • Systems are established to prevent the occurrence or recurrence of abuse, neglect and exploitation within the service delivery context.

Principles of Identification of Abuse, Neglect, and Exploitation

  • Early intervention approaches for the identification of the abuse, neglect and exploitation of people with a disability, taking particular care of known risk situations, both systemic and individual are developed and implemented.
  • The system in place is reviewed so that systems gaps which may contribute to a person experiencing abuse, neglect or exploitation are identified and remedied.

Principles of Effective Response

  • All TASC provided and funded services are committed to a culture of open disclosure that encourages service providers to report and openly disclose any suspected or alleged incidents of abuse, neglect and exploitation.
  • Any suspected or alleged incidents of abuse, neglect and exploitation of clients are reported in line with the requirements of the Service Provider’s Incident Reporting Policy.
  • There is specific consideration of individual, organisational and systemic issues around client-to-client abuse.
  • Clients who experience abuse, neglect or exploitation have the right to:
    • Complain about the service they receive or any form of abuse, neglect or exploitation experienced within TASC provided or TASC funded non-government services without fear of retribution;
    • Pursue grievances and complaints and fair and equitable access to the criminal justice system without fear of the services being discontinued or recriminations from service providers; and
    • Access appropriate support services to assist with the effects of abuse, neglect and exploitation where appropriate.
  • Any person who reports suspected or alleged incidents of abuse, neglect or exploitation of a client has the right to have their safety and rights respected and safeguarded.
  • Families and carers who have identified and reported incidents of abuse, neglect and exploitation would be provided with supports for the response to incidents of abuse, neglect and exploitation.

Principles of Service Development, Coordination and Delivery

  • Service reforms to prevent, identify and respond to the abuse, neglect and exploitation of clients are consistent with the principles of the Disability Services Act 2006 as well as the Queensland Disability Service Standards, in particular Service Standard 9 – upholding the legal and human rights of each person with a disability and taking action to prevent and/or respond to allegations of abuse and neglect.
  • Services are designed and implemented as part of local coordinated service systems and integrated with services and supports generally available to members of the community.
  • Individual and environmental risk assessments inform service provision and protect clients.
  • Services meet the needs of clients experiencing additional barriers because of their age and gender or because of their location.

Principles of Workforce and Workplace Reform

  • Human resource management systems and practices support effective recruitment and selection (including compliance with statutory requirements such as criminal history checking), performance monitoring and development, and performance management.
  • The cultural needs of clients from Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander and culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds in Queensland are safeguarded through training in cultural competency.
  • Good practice in behaviour intervention and management is promoted and resourced.
  • Management is effective, responsive, stable and skilled.
  • The workplace culture supports continuous learning and professional development to respond to the needs of individuals being supported.

Other considerations

Isolation and Challenging Behaviour

People with a disability who may be socially and/or physically isolated have a heightened vulnerability, which has the potential to raise the likelihood of abuse, neglect and exploitation. Additionally, some people with a disability may display complex and challenging behaviour, either intentionally or unintentionally, to fulfil a need/purpose. These behaviours may result in the person with a disability also being a perpetrator of abuse.

  • TASC provided and TASC funded non-government services should develop and implement where appropriate, intervention and management policies and procedures to:
    • Identify and minimised risks to prevent clients who may be socially and physically isolated from experiencing abuse, neglect and exploitation;
    • Support clients who are psychically and socially isolated and have been identified as experiencing abuse, neglect and exploitation; and
    • Identify and minimised risks of clients from exploiting, abusing and neglecting another person with a disability.
  • TASC provided and TASC funded non-government services should ensure that the appropriate substitute decision maker is consulted and informed on a regular basis regarding ongoing intervention and where relevant and appropriate has authorised behaviour intervention. The decision maker may be an informal one where a formal decision-maker or guardian has not been appointed for a personal matter.
  • TASC provided and TASC funded non-government services should have a positive and holistic focus which address the complex sets of issues that contribute to abusive situations as this approach is the most appropriate and effective in responding to a client’s behaviour support needs. When providing support to clients it is essential that all interventions:
    • Are the least restrictive for the person and that restrictive practices have been approved through the required authorization procedures. This relates to Queensland Disability Service Standard 2 – individual needs and personal goals are met in the least restrictive way possible and within available resources;
    • Are in accordance with the duty of care owed;
    • Do not breach the person’s human and legal rights; and
    • Are not in breach of any other statutory requirements including the Disability Services Act 2006 and the Work Health and Safety Act 2011.

Roles and Responsibilities

The following describes the roles and responsibilities of TASC provided and funded non-government service providers in preventing abuse, neglect and exploitation of people with a disability.

TASC

It is the role of TASC to:

  • Promote a culture within services and a proactive systems approach to prevent and identify abuse, neglect and exploitation of clients;
  • Support and influence training in TASC provided and funded non-government service providers;
  • Develop and implement ongoing and effective communication strategies to promote this policy and related procedures within TASC provided and funded non-government service providers;
  • Report to the relevant authority or agency when required;
  • Support and monitor the implementation of the policy and procedures within TASC provided and funded non-government service providers.

Manager of TASC provided and funded services

Managers of TASC provided and funded services have specific responsibilities to ensure the prevention, identification and response to the abuse, neglect and exploitation of clients.

It is the role of managers of the service to:

  • Ensure that all staff and volunteers are aware of, trained in, complaint with and implement the policy and procedures on preventing and responding to the abuse, neglect and exploitation of clients;
  • Provide active support to staff to create an appropriate service culture in accordance with the policy;
  • Ensure staff are trained to recognise and prevent/minimise the occurrence of recurrence of abuse, neglect and exploitation of clients within a service delivery context; and
  • Develop a coordinated and uniform approach to promoting the rights of clients within their families, communities and cultures.

Identification of Abuse, Neglect, and Exploitation

It is the role of managers of the service to ensure that:

  • Systems are in place to identify and remedy gaps which contribute to a client experiencing abuse, neglect or exploitation; and
  • Staff are trained in early intervention approaches where potential or actual abuse, neglect or exploitation of clients is identified.

Responding to Abuse, Neglect, and Exploitation of people with a Disability

It is the role of managers of the services to ensure:

  • That there is a culture of no retribution for any person who reports abuse, neglect or exploitation of a person with disability;
  • Adherence with TASC Quality System for continuous improvement;
  • That relevant staff advise clients, their families and advocates about:
    • Support services, which are equipped to identify abuse, neglect and exploitation and able to refer individuals to appropriate specialist services;
    • Their rights to pursue grievances and complaints and access to the criminal justice system;
  • That any concerned person, including but not limited to, the person with a disability, another consumer, relative, friend or person from the community is able to make a report or an allegation of abuse, neglect and exploitation, without fear of retaliation or retribution;
  • That all staff supporting clients are respectful of their rights and needs;
  • The implementation of the requirements of the Service Provider’s Incident Reporting Policy for TASC provided and funded non-government service providers.

Staff of TASC provided and funded services

It is the role of all relevant staff to:

  • Support management to create a culture of no retribution for reporting of suspected abuse, neglect or exploitation;
  • Provide active support to other staff to create an appropriate service culture in accordance with the policy provide services to client in a manner that is consistent with the policy and procedures;
  • Report all alleged or suspected instances of abuse, neglect and exploitation in accordance with the policy and procedures as well as the Incident Reporting Policy for TASC provided and funded service providers;
  • Inform guardian or substitute decision makers of all alleged or suspected instances of abuse, neglect and exploitation;
  • Cooperate with the investigation of any complaint relating to the provision of services; and
  • Provide appropriate support to the person making the report.
Translate »