Latest News

Doctor from 'Dickensian' hostel suspended

posted 9 Aug 2012, 21:18 by Shut In Australia

The doctor who treated residents at a Sydney boarding house where six residents with disability died has been suspended, leaving authorities scrambling for replacement services, according to a report on the ABC’s Background Briefing.

Doctor Claude Reitberger's registration has been suspended just months after he gave evidence at the inquest into the deaths of six residents at the 300 Hostel at Marrickville, a boarding house the New South Wales coroner described as "Dickensian".

Dr Reitberger's registration was suspended under the Medical Council's "urgent" provisions to protect the public.

The decision comes after a history of investigations over 20 years, reprimands and years of conditions on his registration.

It also comes as submissions close today on the New South Wales Government's draft reforms designed to clean up the boarding house industry and provide greater protection to residents - many of whom have a mental illness.

To read the full story on
ABC Background Briefing, please click here.

PWD has previously issued a Media Release responding to the case against Dr Reitberger, calling for the NSW Government to step up their obligation to recognise, protect and fulfil the human rights of people with disability living in the licensed boarding house sector. To read the Media Release,
please click here.

PWD's Boarding House Individual Advocacy Project provides free information and advocacy support to people with disability in NSW who live in Licensed Residential Centres (Licensed Boarding Houses). Click here to learn more about
PWD’s boarding house advocacy project.

Abuse by carers 'covered up' – Age

posted 16 Jul 2012, 21:36 by Shut In Australia

This story appeared in The Age on July 16 2012 and features a quote from Kevin Stone, Executive Director of VALID and one of the Shut In Campaign's founding members:


"MORE than 100 people with intellectual disability in state-funded care are alleged to have suffered sexual abuse and other harm at the hands of their carers, amid accusations that senior public servants are trying to cover up incidents.


The Department of Human Services recorded 112 cases of alleged "staff-to-client" abuse in 2011-12 in government and community managed housing for people with disability across Melbourne.


Many of the alleged abuse cases are serious, with molestation, withholding food, inappropriate use of sedatives, verbal and physical assault detailed in internal incident reports."


For more, please click on the link above -

Disability Advocacy Network Australia (DANA) Conference

posted 24 May 2012, 20:22 by Shut In Australia


 The Disability Advocacy Network Australia (DANA) Conference was held in Canberra from 30 April to 1 May, and was attended by advocacy organisations from across Australia. One of the streams of the conference included ‘Living in the Community’, which People with Disability Australia coordinated as part of the Shut In Campaign Group.


The ‘Living in the Community’ stream provided an overview of the current political and policy context within Australia and internationally on the closure of institutions, and explored practical strategies for advocating for the rights of people with disability to live in the community.


The presentations were followed by a facilitated panel discussion workshop looking at what disability advocacy groups can achieve and practical strategies using the Shut In Campaign and legal action to illustrate how the CRPD can be used as an effective advocacy tool. The focus of the workshop was on participatory sessions where participants worked on identifying future actions and strategies to advocate for the fundamental human right to live and be included in the community. 


Copies of the presentations for the ‘Living in the Community’ stream are available below

Jacana 5's plight highlights wider issue

posted 21 May 2012, 18:22 by Shut In Australia

"BARBARA Douglass has paused to collect her thoughts so she can sum up the difficulties facing her severely brain-damaged grandson, Ryan, and his family as they try to secure him disability support funding and somewhere to live.

"A lot of people get worn down by it," the 71-year-old says finally. "Tell you what - there's worse things than death and that's the perpetual grief for families."

She's not saying, you understand, that it would be better if her beloved Ryan had died when his car hit a power pole more than four years ago, or that she would rather be dead than continue to play her role in the family's watchful and loving guardianship of him.

It's just that, for all of them, being stuck in an unsatisfying, unedifying, frustrating and upsetting limbo where none of them - Ryan, Barbara, Deb, who is Ryan's mother, his father, siblings, all of them - can move an inch and certainly not forward, is like a kind of death."

Undercover investigation by BBC Arabic reveals allegations of abuse of children with disability

posted 20 May 2012, 16:56 by Shut In Australia

The king of Jordan has ordered an inquiry into allegations of abuse in private children's homes that were made in an undercover investigation aired in the country this week.

The BBC Arabic programme revealed allegations of abuse of children with mental and physical illnesses – some as young as seven or eight – that included sexual abuse, beatings, insults and swearing.

It is common for wealthy parents from across the Middle East to send children to Jordan for treatment. But BBC Arabic also found that eight of 54 such homes are facing private actions against them for the abuse of children.

Fatal accident at Stockton Centre prompts safety improvements

posted 14 May 2012, 16:21 by Shut In Australia

"An inquest in Newcastle has heard safety improvements have been made to the Stockton centre to prevent the repeat of an accident where an intellectually disabled resident was run over by a truck.


52-year-old Michelle Moore suffered serious injuries when the truck reversed over her in July 2010 and she died later in hospital.


A WorkCover inspector told the inquest as a result of safety concerns raised during investigations into the accident an improvement notice was issued to Stockton Centre management...."

Ten imprisoned without conviction while centres for people with disability built

posted 14 May 2012, 16:20 by Shut In Australia

"Ten intellectually disabled people accused but not convicted of a crime will languish in WA prisons for a further two years until the state's first "declared place" for such inmates is built.

On the weekend the State Government announced that two 10-bed disability justice centres would be built in the Perth area within two years.

The centres will be operated by the Disability Services Commission in liaison with the Mentally Impaired Accused Review Board...."

Commissioner Hammarberg's issue paper on CRPD Article 19

posted 10 Apr 2012, 19:38 by Shut In Australia

Commissioner Thomas Hammarberg, on his last day as the Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights, has released an Issue Paper investigating Article 19 of the CRPD. The issue paper is accompanied by a short comment by the Commissioner.


The issue paper provides a detailed analysis of CRPD Article 19 – how does upholding this right look, and what does violation look like. Both institutionalization, and segregation within the community, are addressed. The paper provides guidance on worrying trends emerging in Europe such as the replacement of institutions with other forms of congregate care (e.g., group homes) and the infringement on autonomy and choice resulting from the bundling of services (such as housing and support services). Though the paper is Europe-focused, it lays the ground for considering the application of Article 19 to other contexts as well which do not rely heavily on institutions and where isolation are not necessarily the result of institutionalization as much as the lack of community-based supports.
All in all, an important document and essential read.

MDAC launches Croatia report

posted 26 Mar 2012, 18:45 by Shut In Australia

In late 2011, the Mental Disability Advocacy Center and the Association for Social Affirmation of People with Mental Disabilities (SHINE, launched the publication “Out of Sight: Human Rights in Psychiatric Hospitals and Social Care Institutions in Croatia”.

The report (available in
Croatian and English) presents the findings of monitoring visits made to four psychiatric hospitals and four social care institutions in June 2010. It makes assessments according to international human rights law and standards, identifies problems in the implementation of these standards and presents specific legislative shortcomings that create limitations or provide an insufficient framework for practice. However, the underlying motivation behind the publication is to highlight the daily lives and experiences of people with intellectual disabilities and people with psycho-social (mental health) disabilities living in these institutions, whether temporarily or as life-long residents. In doing so, the report emphasises the need to focus laws and policies to fulfil the right to live in the community for every person with disabilities.

State Faults Care for people with disability - New York Times

posted 22 Mar 2012, 19:14 by Shut In Australia

Nearly 300,000 people with disability and mental illness in New York face a “needless risk of harm” because of conflicting regulations, a lack of oversight and even disagreements over what constitutes abuse, according to a draft state report obtained by The New York Times.

In 2010, the number of abuse accusations at large institutions overseen by the State Office for People With Developmental Disabilities outnumbered the beds in those facilities — a sign of trouble in buildings where many of the state’s most vulnerable residents are housed, and where the state has repeatedly had trouble with abusive employees and unexplained injuries and deaths among residents, according to the report.

The report was commissioned by Gov.
Andrew M. Cuomo in response to a Times investigation last year into problems of abuse, neglect and fraud in state homes and institutions for the developmentally disabled. A draft of the report began circulating in October, but has not yet been released to the public; people frustrated by the delay separately provided to The Times an executive summary and a bound copy drafted in December.

To read the full story, please visit:

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