In this section:

Ageing and Disability Commissioner

Responsible government

  • New South Wales

Fourth Action Plan actions

  • Respect, listen and respond to the diverse lived experience and knowledge of women and their children affected by violence
    • 11 Deliver policies and services to address the disproportionate impact of violence on particular groups.

What are we doing?

NSW Government established an Ageing and Disability Commissioner from 1 July 2019 to protect and promote the rights of adults with disability and older adults, and protect them from abuse, neglect and exploitation. The Commission’s roles under the (NSW) Ageing and Disability Commissioner Act 2019 (the Act), include:

  • Responding to allegations of abuse, neglect and exploitation of adults with disability and older adults (65 years and over or, if Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander, 50 years and over), including by providing advice, making referrals and conducting investigations
  • Raising awareness and educating the public about matters relating to the abuse, neglect and exploitation of adults with disability and older adults
  • Inquiring into and reporting on systemic issues relating to the protection and promotion of the rights, or the abuse, neglect and exploitation, of adults with disability and older adults, including making recommendations to government
  • Administering the NSW Official Community Visitors scheme.

What have we achieved so far?

The Ageing and Disability Commission commenced operation on 1 July 2019, and includes the NSW Ageing and Disability Abuse Helpline (formerly known as the Elder Abuse Helpline and Resource Unit).

Between 1 July and 24 September 2019 the Ageing and Disability Commission received 953 enquiries and reports. Of the 826 reports, 669 related to older adults and 157 related to adults with disability (who are not older adults).

The Ageing and Disability Commission’s actions in relation to these matters include:

  • Facilitating referrals to appropriate agencies such as the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission and the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission
  • Conducting further preliminary inquiries in order to determine how best to respond to the report, including whether to commence an investigation
  • Working with the involved adult and services to improve supports to the adult and their family (where appropriate), and improve the safety and wellbeing of the adult.

What is next?

In the coming months, the Ageing and Disability Commissioner, including the Helpline, intends to recruit essential non-executive roles to fulfil its legislative responsibilities, including meeting service demand, raising community awareness and investigating allegations of abuse, neglect and exploitation.

The Ageing and Disability Commission is currently undertaking substantial work to ensure that its database is able to meet its business needs, and enable regular public reporting on key aspects.

The Act requires the Minister for Families, Communities and Disability Services to commission an independent review of the Act to determine whether its policy objectives remain valid and whether the terms of the Act remain appropriate for securing those objectives. A report on the outcome of the review is to be tabled in NSW Parliament by 1 July 2022.

What difference will we make?

The NSW Government takes its responsibility to safeguard the most vulnerable members of our community seriously. Unfortunately, people with disability and older people can be more vulnerable to abuse, neglect and exploitation. A number of reviews and inquiries highlighted opportunities for the NSW Government to do more to address this issue.

The establishment of the Commission is intended to address the concerns and gaps identified in these reports, by strengthening our ability to respond to the abuse, neglect and exploitation of adults with disability and older adults in home and community settings.

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