The provisions of the NDIS Practice Standards and National Disability Service Standards clearly outline the obligations that service providers have to ensure the rights of people with a disability are met as equal members of society.
It is Able Foods’ policy to work within the framework of relevant legislation and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability to ensure the human and legal rights of people using its services are upheld in relation to the prevention, identification and reporting of violence, neglect, sexual, physical, emotional and financial abuse or exploitation. The allegation may refer to abuse, violence, neglect or exploitation by employees, friends or relatives or members of the community.
Able Foods affirms the right of people with disability to live their lives free from violence neglect, abuse and exploitation. The purpose of this policy is to:
promote the human rights of the people accessing supports and services provided;
create a service where risks to the rights and well-being of people receiving supports and services are minimised or eliminated; and
ensure that if we become aware of an instance of abuse, violence, exploitation or neglect, we respond promptly, professionally and compassionately to address the situation in accordance with the requirements of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (Incident Management and Reportable Incidents) and any other relevant State or Federal protocols.
The scope of this policy applies to all of our services. The policy applies to all employees, students, management, contractors and others who may act on behalf of the organisation from time to time.
Abuse refers to sexual assault, physical, emotional, financial and systemic abuse, domestic violence, constraints, restrictive practices and to neglect. For the purposes of this policy abuse will also include violence as it pertains to physical or psychological abuse.
Advocate is a person who promotes, supports and represents the rights and interests of another person. They may at times act, speak or respond on behalf of another person. Able Foods staff cannot be advocates for people using the service;
Exploitation the act of using someone unfairly for advantage;
Assault (violence) as described by the NSW Crimes Act 1900, is against the law. It is any attempt or threatened attempt to cause unwanted immediate physical contact or bodily harm that puts the victim in fear of such harm or contact;
Person in this policy, refers to a participant receiving services from Able Foods. A person has capacity to make an informed decision if she or he is unable to understand the general nature and effect of a particular decision or action, can weigh up the consequences of different options and can communicate their decision.
Duty of Care refers to the requirement Able Foods has to take reasonable care to avoid foreseeable harm to a person it supports;
A Guardian is a substitute decision maker with authority to make personal or lifestyle decisions about the person under guardianship;
A Manager for reporting purposes in this policy is the next person in line to receive a report of abuse or take action on an allegation of abuse. Generally this is the Chief Operating Officer or General Manager;
A Person responsible is someone who has the authority to consent to treatment for a person who is unable to give a valid consent to their own medical treatment. Sometimes a person is unable to make the decision or does not understand what the treatment is about or its effect. In these cases a person responsible can give substitute consent on behalf of the person.
A Support Person is someone who is engaged to assist a participant. This may include circumstance where a person has been abused and may be required to talk to Police, a sexual assault worker or legal representative. The support person does not have the same function as a person responsible and cannot make decisions for the person. The support person may also be from an advocacy service.
Neglect is the failure of a person responsible to provide the necessities of life. Necessities of life can include shelter, adequate food, clothing, or medical care. Neglect may also involve the refusal to permit others to provide appropriate care for that person.
Able Foods acknowledges everyone is entitled to feel safe, and to live in an environment in which they are protected from assault, neglect, exploitation or any other form of abuse. Any suspected or alleged abuse must be responded to promptly and sensitively, with the aim being to protect the individual(s) from harm.
Able Foods has a process for monitoring and responding to all critical incidents, including reports of abuse. The following Principles are observed by the organisation in response to an allegation of abuse.
Able Foods ensures that the intent of the following principles is reflected in the operational procedures.
a) Preventing Abuse
Able Foods takes reasonable steps to ensure that all staff understand and perform their roles in preventing abuse of people using its service by any person.
b) Identifying Abuse
All staff engaged by Able Foods understand the behaviours or actions that constitute abuse. All staff will be trained in how to report forms of abuse, exploitation and neglect.
All staff workers engaged by Able Foods are able to recognise signs that may be indicators of abuse.
All staff recognise that people with challenging behaviour, and people who are nonverbal or who experience communication difficulties, may be more vulnerable to abuse.
c) Reporting Abuse
Any allegations of abuse or suspicion of abuse of a participant must be reported to the Manager.
The Manager will notify the NDIS Commission of all reportable incidents (including allegations) within the time frames and using the prescribed forms set down in the National Disability Insurance Scheme (Incident Management and Reportable Incidents) Rules 2018.
The culture of our organisation promotes, encourages and supports any person who has witnessed abuse of a person or persons, or suspects that abuse has occurred, to make a report of abuse and be confident of doing so without fear of retaliation and in a supportive environment.
All staff are aware of their responsibility and will be trained in responding to and reporting allegations of abuse, neglect or exploitation in accordance with our documented procedures.
d) Responding to a report of abuse
Response is prompt, appropriate and in accordance with the National Disability Insurance Scheme (Incident Management and Reportable Incidents) Rules 2018. All instances of abuse, violence or neglect will also be reported to the Police and the NDIS Commission. When the victim is unable to give consent, the family, guardian or other support person are notified of the incident as soon as possible.
If it is appropriate and the victim has given consent, the family or guardian of the victim, or other support person, are informed of the allegation of abuse as soon as possible after the report is made. All aspects of the incident are documented in accurate written accounts, including any follow up actions.
Able Foods has a duty of care to ensure that the rights of people using the service are respected, their well being is safeguarded, and that they are not exposed to any form of abuse and neglect as a result of using our service. We expect that everyone who is associated with Able Foods, and is involved in providing services to people will share our commitment to maintaining an organisational culture that:
- upholds the value and dignity of people provided supports;
- builds trusting relationships with people provided support, their family and carers; provides services in an environment that is safe and welcoming for everyone;
- empowers people by helping them to understand their rights;
- makes everyone feel safe to raise concerns;
- responds proactively to concerns and complaints when they arise; and
- fosters collaboration with other organisations in upholding a person’s human rights and preventing abuse and neglect.
Staff will promptly report concerns about the safety of consumers (including environmental hazards) to their supervisor so that appropriate action can be taken.
Management, staff, students and stakeholders are aware of Able Foods procedures through orientation and induction processes. This policy and supporting documents are reviewed as part of the organisations quality improvement process and quality management system.
ADVOCACY AND SUPPORT FOR PEOPLE USING THE SERVICE
Able Foods recognises that participants who have experienced abuse, violence or neglect may require the support and assistance of an advocate. In line with our Participant Advocacy policy all participants who require or request advocacy support and/or information will be supported using this policy and directed to the appropriate agency and to external agencies such as the Police, NDIS Commission and the National Abuse and Neglect Hotline.
The CEO and/or Chief Operating Officer is responsible for the final review of this policy and its approval and implementation.
The General Managers are responsible for maintaining this policy, its related procedures and associated documents.
All employees, volunteers and students who work with people using the service are responsible for complying with this policy.
This policy will be regularly every three (3) years or as contextual drivers within the disability services sector continue to evolve. This policy is not intended to be a static document and Able Foods will make a commitment to its ongoing development through quality reviews, incident management and ongoing communication with service users.