About the Hotline
The National Disability Abuse and Neglect Hotline is an Australia-wide telephone hotline for reporting abuse and neglect of people with disabilities using government funded services. Allegations are referred to the appropriate authority for investigation.
The National Disability Abuse and Neglect Hotline is fully funded by the Australian Government through the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs.
The Hotline was launched by the Hon Senator Amanda Vanstone on 29 October 2001 to help safeguard the rights of these people using Commonwealth, State or Territory funded services.
Anyone can call the Hotline to report cases of abuse or neglect or to find out more about the service. The Hotline is open from 8am to 8pm across Australia, seven days a week.
Cases of abuse and neglect can include physical, sexual, psychological, legal and civil abuse, restraint and restrictive practices, or financial abuse. It can also include the withholding of care and support which exposes an individual to harm.
Types of government funded services used by people with disabilities include open or supported employment, accommodation, community and respite care services.
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As part of an effort to improve Australian government-funded disability services, the Australian Government Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs will analyse statistical information from the service.
ALTERNATE FORMAT SOURCES
Information on the National Disability Abuse and Neglect Hotline is also available in alternate formats. These include Braille, audio cassette and large print.
Contact the Hotline below if you would like the information in any of these formats.
What is Abuse & Neglect?
Abuse is the violation of an individual’s human or civil rights, through the act or actions of another person or persons.
Neglect is a failure to provide the necessary care, aid or guidance to dependent adults or children by those responsible for their care.
Types of abuse include:
- Physical abuse – such as punching, hitting, slapping, burning etc
- Sexual abuse – forcing someone to take part in sexual activity against their will
- Psychological or emotional abuse – threatening, harassing or intimidating a person
- Constraints and restrictive practices – restraining or isolating people other than for medial necessity or to prevent immediate self harm
- Financial abuse – the wrongful use of another person’s assets or denying a person the use of their own assets
- Legal or civil abuse
- Systemic abuse
Types of neglect include:
- Physical neglect – failure to provide adequate food, shelter, clothing and protection. Supervision medical or dental care that places people at undue risk through unsafe environments or practices
- Passive neglect – withholding or failure to provide the necessities of life
- Wilful deprivation – wilfully denying a person assistance and thereby exposing that person to the risk of physical, mental or emotional harm
- Emotional neglect – restricting the social, intellectual and emotional growth or well being of a person
FORMAL DEFINITIONS OF ABUSE AND NEGLECT
Types of abuse include (but are not limited to):
Any non-accidental physical injury or injuries to a child or adult. This includes inflicting pain of any sort or causing bruises, fractures, burns, electric shock, or any unpleasant sensation.
Any sexual contact between an adult and child 16 years of age and younger; or any sexual activity with an adult who is unable to understand, has not given consent, is threatened, coerced or forced to engage in sexual behaviour.
Psychological or emotional abuse:
Verbal assaults, threats of maltreatment, harassment, humiliation or intimidation, or failure to interact with a person or to acknowledge that person’s existence. This may also include denying cultural or religious needs and preferences.
Constraints and restrictive practices:
Restraining or isolating an adult for reasons other than medical necessity or the absence of a less restrictive alternative to prevent self-harm. This may include the use of chemical or physical means or the denial of basic human rights or choices such as religious freedom, freedom of association, access to property or resources or freedom of movement.
The improper use of another person’s assets or the use or withholding of another person’s resources.
Legal or civil abuse:
Denial of access to justice or legal systems that are available to other citizens.
Failure to recognise, provide or attempt to provide adequate or appropriate services, including services that are appropriate to that person’s age, gender, culture, needs or preferences.
Types of neglect include (but are not limited to):
Failure to provide adequate food, shelter, clothing, protection, supervision and medical and dental care, or to place persons at undue risk through unsafe environments or practices.
A caregiver’s failure to provide or wilful withholding of the necessities of life including food, clothing, shelter or medical care.
Wilfully denying a person who, because of age, health or disability, requires medication or medical care, shelter, food, therapeutic devices or other physical assistance – thereby exposing that person to risk of physical, mental or emotional harm.
The failure to provide the nurturance or stimulation needed for the social, intellectual and emotional growth or well being of an adult or child.
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