Katharine Annear Chair of ASAN AUNZ says: “We have been informed by a parent of the alleged abusive treatment of Autistic children by staff at the AEIOU Centre in Adelaide’s south. We have also been asked to speak up on behalf of the children who are victims of this alleged abuse. We are obviously distressed by the situation and wish to make public comment.”
ASAN AUNZ is a formal network of Autistic adult self advocates and unfortunately many of our members were and still are subject to restraint and abuse such as has occurred with these children.
Please see our recent opinion and media releases on the topic of abuse and restraint.
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Katharine goes in to say: “You will be aware of the call for a Royal Commission into the abuse of people with disability after the findings of the Senate Committee were handed down last week – this is something we wholeheartedly support. We also support the pursuit of criminal charges in cases where abuse is verified.”
ASAN AUNZ notes that South Australia’s Disability Justice plan has made changes to the Evidence Act 1929
The Statutes Amendment (Vulnerable Witnesses) Act 2015, incorporates major changes to the Evidence Act 1929. The purpose of the reforms is to:
- give people, whether victims, witnesses or defendants, with complex communication needs a general entitlement to have a communication assistant present for any contact with the criminal justice system
- minimise the number of times vulnerable witnesses have to recount their experiences by providing alternative measures for their evidence to be presented to the court, including the use of pre-recorded evidence and investigative interviews at trial
- tackle the misconception that disability denotes ‘unreliability’
- enhance the supports available for vulnerable victims, witnesses and defendants, both in and out of court
- allow the evidence of vulnerable witnesses to be taken in informal surroundings
- extend the priority listing of sexual assault trials where the complainant is a child to those where the complainant has a disability that adversely affects their capacity to give evidence.
“We hope these changes will support Autistic people to receive the justice they need.”
Katharine Annear is available in Adelaide to comment and can be contacted on 0400003656.