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Complaints, stares and threats: People with high-risk disabilities given ‘no leeway’ in public

2 min read
high-risk disabilities

People with high-risk disabilities are being ‘chased out of suburbs” by ignorant people, a home care provider says. From verbal attacks on the streets to constant complaint letters, CEO of Home Care Nurses Australia (HCNA), Busi Faulkner says “the problem is only getting worse”.

“People with high-risk disabilities are misunderstood and often feared in Australian society,” Faulkner said. “This is a sad reality affecting thousands of Australians and in many cases is preventing people from accessing the care that they need.”

Busi Faulkner

The Queensland-based organisation that looks after primarily high-risk people with disabilities has come out saying there is urgent need for public awareness on how to react around these people as they are continuously kicked out or banned access from places including GP surgeries.

“We need a holistic and collaborative approach; support providers like Home Care Nurses Australia should be able to work with GP clinics to pre-warn and educate how to manage the individual to prevent outbursts, however time and time again, despite our efforts, these requests are ignored,” Faulkner said.

“As a result, we are constantly helping our clients to find new places to access care after they have been kicked out of numerous clinics.

“People with high-risk disability are humans too and there is a real need for a societal mindset shift to break the stigmas around that.”

Liza Omran whose brother Robbie Borey lives with a high-risk intellectual disability says it is heartbreaking to see the way people react to him.

“I honestly don’t know where my brother would be without the support and understanding he receives from Home Care Nurses Australia,” she said.

“My brother reads lips and so when people turn their backs to him he will often hit them to get their attention due to frustration that he cannot communicate.

“People should have more of an open mind to understand that they don’t necessarily know what someone’s situation is and treat them with kindness.”

HCNA is calling for more education programs around dealing with people with high risk needs to ensure a more understanding and accepting society into the future.

“It is truly heartbreaking to see how these people are rejected in society and we really want to bring awareness to that,” Faulkner said.

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Lourdes Antenor is an experienced writer who specialises in the not-for-profit sector and its affiliations. She is the content producer for Third Sector News, an online knowledge-based platform for and about the Australian NFP sector.


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