22 Nov

Synapse mentioned in Disability Royal Commissions Final Report

Final report: Culturally safe supports

Synapse’s Community Living Initiative in Cairns was recognised in the Final report as Australia’s first purpose-built housing complex for First Nations people with complex disability. It was highlighted that the intention of the initiative was to help strengthen culturally safe supports and services to enable people to more easily move from hospital or other culturally inappropriate settings back home to Country or another home of choice. It was also recognised Synapse opinion that this initiative being currently funded under the National Disability Scheme’s Supported Independent Living model ‘is at complete odds with the very foundation of the model.’

In relation to people living with a disability experiencing trauma through neglect and abuse, the Final report quote Synapse’s CEO Jennifer Cullen to say, “for First Nations people, trauma-informed support is not an optional extra.”

Final report: Guddi Way cultural screening tool

Culturally validated screening tool, the Guddi Way Screen, developed by Synapse was praised in the Disability Royal Commissions Final Report as showing a “clear need to improve the cultural safety of current screening processes” in Australian corrective services. The Guddi Way Screen mentioned in the report identifies cognitive impairment in Indigenous prisoners through a culturally informed and validated process.

The Disability Royal Commission’s Final Report claimed The Guddi Way Screen “shows promise as a culturally relevant and appropriate method to identify cognitive impairment and complex disability.” The final report also stated the improvement of culturally safe screening, “requires both a long-term investment in the development and evaluation of culturally validated screening tools, and greater exploration of currently available tools by corrective services agencies.

Final report: Improving provider practices

Along with other providers, Synapse was mentioned to agree that the following three elements are needed to improve disability provider practice in Australia:

  • making human rights legally enforceable
  • creating and sharing resources to build capacity and awareness about human rights within the disability sector, including among service providers, workers, and people with disability who receive disability services
  • increasing institutional capability in a way that is transparent and accountable.

Synapse was also acknowledge in the Final Report as stressing that making human rights legally enforceable, building awareness among people with disability and the disability service sector, and increasing the institutional capability of service providers to understand and respect human rights principles, are required.

How Synapse was involved in the Disability Royal Commission

Synapse has supported the Disability Royal Commission by:

  • Gathering stories from the Torres Strait to ensure their voices were heard in the commission
  • Responding to the First Nations Issue Paper
  • Speaking about conditions in detention in the criminal justice system, disability service provision, the Guddi Way Screen & our Community Living Initiative in public hearings
  • Submitting research findings of the Assessing the Disability Needs of Indigenous Prisoners (ADNIP) Report
  • Submitting summaries of our Guddi Way Screen & Murri Court Guddi Pilot Project outcomes for consideration
  • Responding to questions on notice about the Guddi Way Screen.
  • Synapse is committed to seeing systems that continue to criminalise and disadvantage people impacted by disability and brain injury change as a result of the Disability Royal Commission.