Directions For South Australia – Shifting Perceptions

Introduction:

Article 8 of the United Nations Convention of Rights of People with Disabilities encourages all signatories:

To adopt immediate, effective and appropriate measures…to raise awareness throughout society…regarding people with disabilities.

Current negative representations of people with a disability in the media contribute to a pre-existing stereotype of people with disabilities.

Many reports, articles, and stories present a person with disability as ‘suffering’, or ‘unhappy’ about their disability, with often a focus on what people may not be able to do, rather than what our skills, abilities and strengths are.

This, in addition to services, public spaces, and buildings that are not accessible to all may lead to a broader understanding that people with disabilities are not as highly valued as others in the South Australian community.

Shifting and lifting community perception and breaking down negative typecasts will help to promote equal access and opportunities to people of all abilities.

Promoting an understanding of different disabilities within the community will assist people with a disability in accessing equal accommodation, education, health and transport support.

Increasing community understanding of disability and disability specific issues also harnesses the potential to promote a higher quality of overall care and services provided to people with disabilities.

An understanding of the level of support required by an individual, and an appreciation for how this support affects their lives is essential to developing good standards of care and services.

Action:

Dignity Party firmly believe that all people in our society should fully respect the rights and dignity of people with disabilities.

In South Australia we must:

— Aim to reject and combat all stereotypes, prejudices and negative practices relating to people with disabilities in all areas of their life;

— Encourage, at every opportunity, all members of society to understand and accept an awareness of the capabilities and contributions to society of people with disabilities;

— Provide Government funding and support for organisations and projects that enable the community to have easy access to information and education about all forms of disability;

— Encourage people with disabilities to use public services (e.g. public transport, Government offices) whenever possible to further raise public awareness and acceptance;

— Ensure all public buildings and spaces are accessible to all members of the community;

— Ensure Governments and Non-Government Organisations have easy access for people with disabilities to all information, websites, community services, events and activities;

— Encourage any method of public awareness campaign (e.g. advertising, promotional, educational) that promotes a greater understanding and acceptance of the skills, abilities and merits of people with disabilities and their contributions to our society and how they can be supported;

— Encourage people working in the media to portray people with disabilities in a positive manner to help promote increased public awareness of disability issues;

— Promote national standards and quality assurance of disability services for people with disabilities, and develop a system of National Accreditation and Training for all people who work in the disability sector, in order to improve the current perceived low status of the disability sector as a workplace.