Do you need to report abuse or neglect of people with disability

National Disability Abuse and Neglect Hotline

The National Disability Abuse and Neglect Hotline (the Hotline) 1800 880 052 exists to provide support to you or someone you may care for to report abuse and neglect of people with disability.

Emergency situations

In case of life threatening situations call 000 for attendance by Ambulance, Fire or Police services. If you think a crime has been committed or is being committed, contact your local police.

There are legal definitions of abuse and neglect, but generally the following definitions can help you understand your circumstance:

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 may 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 medical 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 may 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

Help using the service

The Hotline staff who answer calls understand disability, are sensitive to the needs of people with disability and are aware of issues in the disability sector. In some instances, they will be able to provide immediate advice to callers.

Advocacy services can also be arranged for callers with disabilities who require assistance to report an allegation.

You will be encouraged to report, through your permission:

  • Your name, address and age
  • Some information about the service or situation in which the abuse is occurring
  • The name of the person or persons responsible for the abuse
  • The name, age and address of the person being abused.

You will also need to give permission for the Hotline to pass information onto other organisations who can investigate your report.

The Hotline is open Monday to Friday, 9am to 7pm Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST) and Australian Eastern Daylight Saving Time (AEDST), excluding Australian national public holidays.

To make a report:

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