Disability support

Disability support at SAMSN

Children with disability are at increased risk of abuse, including sexual abuse. This can be because some children with disability spend a significant amount of time in institutions to access health, education or care services which can isolate them from the community and trusted adults. Children with intellectual disability, communication disorders or behavioural disorders are at a particularly high risk. 

Statistics show that the prevalence of sexual abuse of people with disability is of significant concern, and that most sexual abuse that occurs to people with a disability is perpetrated by someone they know and in a setting that they live or receive care in as a result of having a disability. 

According to the National Centre for Action on Child Sexual Abuse’s Five Year strategy, people with disability who experience child sexual abuse are often not identified, protected, or well supported. 

SAMSN’s Disability Inclusion and Action Plan 

SAMSN is committed to cultivating a barrier-free environment that actively encourages increased participation of survivors, supporters, and staff with disability. This is integral to our values of hope, dignity, connection, and community.  

With funding from NSW Health in 2023 and 2024, we reviewed our services, policies, procedures, premises, and workplace culture in collaboration with People With Disability Australia to ensure that our approach and underpinning framework are inclusive and accessible. This work was undertaken in ongoing consultation with a focus group of survivors with disability, supporters, disability sector workers, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff, stakeholders and survivors.  

Our Disability Inclusion and Action Plan (DIAP), which we developed through this process in consultation with People With Disability Australia, is the foundation of our commitment to this important goal.  

The lived experiences of our staff, survivors, staff and stakeholders have helped to shape the direction and goals reflected in this three-year DIAP to achieve disability inclusion and awareness across all of the people we work with.  

Here are just some of the ways in which we aim to achieve this: 

  • We provide accessible physical premises with wheelchair access, accessible toilet, tactile indicators and anti-slip strips, accessible signage and emergency access routes, and DDA compliant access.  
  • We use accessible documentation for organisational policies, procedures, and all supporting resources provided to our service users. 
  • We provide a range of options and formats for engaging with us, so that you can communicate with us in the way that works best for you. 
  • Our digital and static marketing material, and website, have all been developed by accessibility subject matter experts. 
  • We regularly consult with our stakeholders in the disability services sector to ensure that our services meet the needs of people with disability. 
  • We hold membership with the Sunflower global network supporting people with invisible disabilities. 
  • All of our staff are trained in the foundations of working with people with disability, including the Sunflower training for people with invisible disabilities. 

The Social Model of Disability 

There have been many models used to understand disability over time. At SAMSN, we use the Social Model of Disability to inform how we work with survivors, supporters, staff and stakeholders with disability. 

The social model of disability is the internationally recognised way to view and address ‘disability’. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) marks the official paradigm shift in attitudes towards people with disability and approaches to disability concerns. 

The social model sees ‘disability’ is the result of the interaction between people living with impairments and an environment filled with physical, attitudinal, communication and social barriers. It asserts that the physical, attitudinal, communication and social environment must change to enable people living with impairments to participate in society on an equal basis with others. 

Disability is the result of the interaction between people living with impairments and barriers in the physical, attitudinal, communication and social environment. For example, it is not the inability to walk that keeps a person from entering a building by themselves, but the stairs that are inaccessible to them. 

The social model seeks to change society in order to accommodate people living with impairment. It does not seek to change persons with impairment to accommodate society. It supports the view that people with disability have a right to be fully participating citizens on an equal basis with others. 

The social model of disability

The social model of disability - with audio description

The social model of disability - Auslan video

Disability Resources

Access our library of disability resources

Support for d/Deaf and Hard of Hearing

Our suite of Auslan videos for those who are d/Deaf and Hard of Hearing