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A special report to Parliament under section 31 of the Ombudsman Act 1974. 2 November 2018.

Cover of report

Executive summary

In July 2016, the Ombudsman’s office commenced a standing inquiry under section 11(1)(e) of the Community Services (Complaints, Reviews, and Monitoring) Act 1993 to examine and respond to allegations of abuse and neglect of adults with disability in community settings, such as the family home.

The Ombudsman's office started the inquiry:

  • in recognition of the seriousness of the increasing number of matters that were being reported to us that raised concerns about the safety and welfare of adults with disability in the community, and
  • in the absence of any other agency with the powers to investigate allegations that do not reach a criminal threshold or that otherwise require a coordinated interagency response.

The standing inquiry

Between August 2015 and October 2018, the Ombudsman received 358 contacts relating to the alleged abuse and neglect of adults with a disability living in community settings. Most (206) of the matters involved reports of alleged abuse and neglect that required action as part of the standing inquiry. The 206 reports do not relate to the conduct of service providers – they are about the conduct of the person’s family and other informal supports, and members of the community.

This special report has resulted in the appointment of a dedicated Ageing and Disability Commissioner for NSW. 

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Resource: Ombudsman NSW

Download: pdfAbuse and neglect of vulnerable adults in NSW - the need for action