1 IFM Zero Abuse Policy
2 IFM Zero Abuse Policy - Vol 2
IFM Zero Abuse Policy

Preventing and Identifying Abuse – Zero Tolerance Policy

Integrated fm Group accept and comply with a zero tolerance approach that abuse of people with a disability is never acceptable and should never be ignored.

Preventing and identifying the abuse, neglect and exploitation of people with a disability requires proactive and sustained intervention and monitoring. Integrated fm group Management plays a critical role through policy, policy awareness, Training program awareness and adopting all staff and Contractor Training programs specific to Victorian Government and NDIS/NDIA regulation and plus ensuring funding is adequate to provide the consistency and quality of safeguards across the disability and all organisational structure. This role extends to working with the community to create lasting cultural change so the rights and interests of people with a disability are understood and upheld.

In turn, disability service providers are critical to the success of preventative efforts given their direct support to people with a disability. Equally important is building the capacity of individuals with a disability to assert their rights and to act in their own interests where possible.

The strategy also recognises the value of a strong client incident reporting and complaints system as a safeguard for people with a disability. The emphasis on prevention complements the existing focus on corrective actions following abuse.[1] These are essential components of a comprehensive response to abuse of people with a disability where preventative strategies are not successful.

[1] See commentary on abuse prevention in, for example: Victorian Ombudsman 2015, Reporting and investigation of allegations of abuse in the disability sector: Phase 1 – the effectiveness of statutory oversight, Victorian Ombudsman, Melbourne, p. 47.

IFM Zero Abuse Policy - Vol 2

Understanding abuse

This strategy recognises the need to support people with a disability, their families and disability support workers and providers to gain a full understanding of what abuse is, recognising the different forms that abuse takes and the varied settings in which it occurs.

Abuse is a violation of a person’s human rights and has a number of forms such as financial abuse, emotional abuse, physical abuse, sexual abuse and neglect. Abuse can be perpetrated by support workers, supervisors, managers, people with a disability, family members, carers and community members. To be effective, zero tolerance of abuse requires a clear understanding of what abuse is and the types of behaviour that are abusive. Abusive behaviour includes:

Financial abuse: The misuse of a person’s assets, property, possessions and finances without their consent. It includes:

denying a person the use of their own assets, property, possessions and finances

theft, fraud, exploitation and pressure in relation to assets, property, possessions and finances

obtaining assets through deception.

This also includes financial abuse perpetrated by other people with a disability.

Emotional abuse: Actions or behaviours that reject, isolate, intimidate or frighten by threats, or the witnessing of family violence, to the extent that the person’s behaviour is disturbed or their emotional/psychological wellbeing has been, or is at risk of being, seriously impaired. This includes:

rejecting, isolating, terrorising and ignoring behaviours

denying cultural or religious needs and preferences

emotional abuse perpetrated by other people with a disability

when a person subjects another person to behaviour that may result in psychological trauma such as bullying, harassment, humiliation and/or threats.

Physical abuse: Actions that involve the inappropriate use of physical contact or force against a person. This includes:

threats of physical abuse made to a person with a disability by another person

excessive use of physical force or restraint by a staff member

physical abuse perpetrated by other people with a disability, as well as by caregivers or staff.

Sexual abuse: Actual or attempted unwanted sexual actions that are otherwise forced on a person against their will or without their consent, through the use of physical force, intimidation and/or coercion.

Neglect: The failure to care adequately for a person with a disability to the extent that the health, wellbeing and development of the person is significantly impaired or at risk.

All Integrated fm group personnel are required to undertake a specified Abuse Awareness Training Program to ensure knowledge of this is accrued.

If any Integrated fm Group staff or Contractor is aware or becomes aware of any identified or suspected abuse of any person with a disability it is incumbent upon themselves to report the same to Integrated fm Group Management via the Corrective Actions Request (CAR) System or notify the NDIS or Organisation Support person for the affected individual. The same individual reporting the abuse incident is required to ensure action is undertaken to correct or identify the abuse and actions which are undertaken to cease the same, if it is proven to be occurring or has occurred..