National Ethnic Disability Alliance

Media Release 31 Nov 2016

Media Release

Call for action to end indefinite detention of people with disability

Disabled People’s Organisations Australia (DPO Australia) welcomes the report on the Indefinite Detention of People with Cognitive and Psychiatric Impairment, which was tabled yesterday by the Senate Standing Committees on Community Affairs.

The report outlines 32 recommendations for concerted law reform and justice measures as well as the development of integrated policies and programs to prevent people with disability from being indefinitely detained in prisons and psychiatric facilities. 

The majority of people with a cognitive and psychiatric impairment who are subject to indefinite detention are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. 

Damian Griffis, CEO First Peoples Disability Network (FPDN) said: “The ongoing and indefinite imprisonment of people with cognitive and psychiatric impairment is a serious abuse of human rights. We welcome the Senate inquiry report and commend the Senate for turning its attention to this issue. It is critical that swift action is taken in order to end the incarceration of people with disability and to provide appropriate support and services as an alternative to jail.”

Therese Sands, Director of DPO Australia said: “It is just unacceptable that indefinite detention is a reality for many people with disability.  The United Nations has made a number of recommendations to Australia to act to end indefinite detention, and Australia responded with a commitment to do so in November 2015, but so far little has been done.  The recommendations from this report must form the blueprint for coordinated action by all Australian governments to fulfil this commitment.”

DPO Australia also stressed the connection between the recommendations from this Inquiry and the recommendations from the Senate Inquiry into violence, abuse, and neglect of people with disability, which was handed down a year ago but has not been responded to by the Government.  DPO Australia looks forward to working with the Government on implementing robust, national reforms based on the recommendations from both Inquiries.

DPO Australia also calls for the Australian Government to urgently ratify and ensure domestic implementation of the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture (OPCAT) and the establishment of an independent national preventive mechanism to monitor places of detention, including prisons, forensic facilities, juvenile justice detention centres, disability justice centres and mental health facilities.

Note to editors

The Indefinite detention of people with a cognitive and psychiatric impairment in Australia Senate report is available online:

Disabled People’s Organisations Australia submission for this Senate Inquiry is available online:



Sara Irvine: 0402 982 002
Therese Sands: 0412 935 128


 Disabled People’s Organisations Australia (DPO Australia) is an alliance of four national Disabled People’s Organisations (organisations made up of and led by people with disability). DPO Australia was founded by, and is made up of the First Peoples Disability Network Australia (FPDNA) representing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability, the National Ethnic Disability Alliance (NEDA) representing culturally and linguistically diverse people with disability, People with Disability Australia (PWDA) a national cross-disability organisation and Women With Disabilities Australia (WWDA), the national organisation representing women and girls with disability.

People with Disability Australia (PWDA)

First Peoples Disability Network Australia (FPDN)

National Ethnic Disability Alliance (NEDA)

Women With Disabilities Australia (WWDA)

Published by giraffemin on Fri, 11/03/2016 – 01:21 pm

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