People with disabilities are on injury list

By ZOE SATHERLEY

ELEVEN people with a disability and one staff member have been assaulted at a Mullumbimby group home over the past 18 months.

NSW shadow disability services minister John Ryan obtained the assault record of the home using a Freedom of Information search.

Mr Ryan said his research has found that at least one person with a disability was assaulted every day in Government-funded group homes across NSW.

He said he was shocked at the extent of the problem, with at least 240 people with disabilities injured so seriously over the past 18 months that they required medical attention or hospitalisation.

He raised the matters in State Parliament last week, including the fact that more than 300 staff had also reported being assaulted.

The figures also detail incidents of sexual harassment, exposure to infectious bodily fluids, and even the death of clients, visitors and staff.

But NSW Disability Services Minister John Della Bosca said caring for people with a disability can be a very difficult job, and the people who work in Government and non-government residential facilities deserved our encouragement and appreciation.

"People with challenging and violent behaviour require special care and special precautions," he said.

"John Ryan seems to assume that all injuries in group homes occur to people with a disability. In fact most injuries occur to staff.

"The Government is assisting non-government organisations to improve their occupational health and safety outcomes."



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