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Human Rights policy

1. Summary

Yooralla affirms the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Children, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the Victorian Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities.

Yooralla always upholds the equality, dignity and well-being of clients.

Yooralla provides fair access to services regardless of a client’s ethnicity, gender, beliefs, age, social status, sexuality or other individual differences.

Yooralla protects clients from abuse, neglect, exploitation, violence, discrimination, harm and restrictive practice.

Yooralla achieves inclusion and participation of people with disabilities in the community.

Employees ask clients about their thoughts and perspectives when making choices and respect their decisions; and

Employees involve clients and carers in the development and review of support plans.

2. Scope of Policy

This policy applies to all employees, volunteers, agency workers and contractors in relation to clients.

3. Purpose

This policy outlines Yooralla’s commitment to human rights. The purpose of this policy is to:

a) ensure the safeguarding and implementation of the rights of people with disabilities

b) ensure that Yooralla’s employees, services and practice empower people with disabilities to exercise their fundamental human rights as equal citizens and to uphold their dignity every day

c) respect the power and control people with disabilities have over matters that affect their lives, such as the choices and decisions they make

d) ensure people with a disability have a voice and are included in any discussions and decisions that affect them and they are asked about their thoughts, ideas and perspectives when decisions are being made

e) affirm Yooralla’s commitment as human rights duty-bearers to ensure that people with disabilities not only exercise their rights but enjoy their human rights

f) protect the rights of people with disabilities from abuse, neglect, exploitation, violence, discrimination, harm and restrictive practice

g) define the concept of human rights; and

h) define the responsibilities of employees, various board sub-committees and organisational entities for the various elements of human rights.

4. Policy Statement

Yooralla actively promotes and safeguards the fundamental rights of people with disabilities as equal citizens. Yooralla is committed to ensuring our services and practice upholds the dignity of the person every day. Yooralla conducts ourselves, our business, and collaborates with partners who share the same human rights values as espoused in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities 2006 (CRPD). In promoting the equality of people with disabilities, Yooralla is also committed to ensuring people with a disability are empowered and have a voice in how they live their lives. Yooralla is committed to achieving social change and addressing disadvantage by influencing the sector and government.

There are two other conventions that relate to this policy. Yooralla upholds the principles of the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) of justice, democracy, respect for human rights, equality, non-discrimination, good governance and good faith. Yooralla upholds the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Defining Human Rights

In addition to the Victorian Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006, Yooralla affirms the CRPD. The CRPD has been widely interpreted as embodying a ‘paradigm shift’ away from the medicalised and welfare models of disability to a social model of disability. The social model of disability locates the experience of disability in the social environment. This means Yooralla is committed to removing the social and physical barriers that limit the participation and inclusion of people with disabilities. Yooralla works toward realising inclusion and participation of people with disabilities in the community.

There are several important key concepts in defining human rights. These include but are not limited to the following:

  • a human right is universal and inalienable ‒ this means that every person has fundamental human rights;
  • communication is a human right. Individuals with complex communication needs must be supported because communication is a precursor to people with disability being able to access other rights;
  • human dignity is inherent in a person and cannot be taken away from the person;
  • people with disabilities are rights-bearers ‒ this means they have a right to exercise and enjoy their human rights;
  • service providers and employees are duty-bearers ‒ this means employees have to respect, protect and fulfil human rights of people with disabilities as articulated in the CRPD. Hence it is the duty of Yooralla employees to ensure people with disabilities are empowered to exercise their rights and to uphold their dignity at all times;
  • people with disabilities have power and control over their lives, this includes a right to self-determination, make choices and decisions, participate actively in the community, assumed to have capacity to make decisions, and be respected for the decisions and choices they make; and
  • achieving positive change and addressing disadvantage in the social and physical environments.

Translating Human Rights into Action

The central principle for Yooralla service delivery is the right of the client to be in control of his/her own life decisions. Yooralla clients take responsibility for the life decisions they make or are supported to make such decisions.

Yooralla is committed to:

a) providing human rights education through existing committees/groups, organisational learning, and conduct of reflective practice within teams;

b) reviewing Yooralla policies relating to human rights and ethical issues where legislative changes alter the compliance requirements;

c) providing advice and consultation when human rights and/or ethical issues, events or related conflicts arise. The issues or events may be related to a particular individual or case; and

d) seeking consultation within existing Yooralla stakeholder groups and/or external advice where appropriate.

Yooralla as a service provider is required to:

  1. uphold and respect the dignity of the person in everyday interactions with clients and their families/carers and with each other;
  2. empower clients to have a voice in all aspects of their life and promote and actively support the person to make decisions and choices every day, engage the person in decision-making by ensuring information provided is appropriate to the person’s level of comprehension and/or in an alternative and augmentative communication system used by the person;
  3. promote the client’s dignity, well-being, and ensure equity and access to quality services, regardless of the ethnicity, gender, beliefs, age, social status, sexuality or other individual differences. The human rights lens is applied across Yooralla policy, practice and service delivery;
  4. ensure that the person with the disability as the client is the focus and centre of any planning and design of services, and that the person and his/her family/carer or support person are involved in the process of support plans or any plans that affect them. And that the support plans are regularly reviewed with the person and/or his/her family/carer or support network;
  5. promote and act promptly on feedback and complaints from people with disabilities, their families/carers and stakeholders so that learning from the feedback will enhance our service delivery;
  6. keep personal information about clients securely and the personal information is kept confidential and private;
  7. inform people with disabilities and their families/carer or support person of their right to seek independent or external advocacy, and/or to take any complaints to the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission and other appropriate organisations (such as Community Visitors or the Office of the Public Advocate);
  8. implement quality, service, practice and research strategies or activities that enhance human rights (particularly in the area of well-being, safety, participation and access), build self-advocacy and hear the voice of relevant stakeholders (such as families/carers, advocates or support person) to advise us on realising our promise and purpose;
  9. establish and seek feedback from clients and stakeholder groups (such as from people with disabilities and their families/carers or support persons) in decisions that affect them, such as service planning or policy development;
  10. implement quality, service, practice and research strategies or activities that will achieve social change in the community and address disadvantage experienced by people with disabilities, and that these strategies or activities are consistent with the CRPD. This may include but is not limited to not participating in or developing services that are considered as institutional or that isolates the person from the community. Rather Yooralla will work with diverse stakeholders to reduce and/or eliminate barriers that diminish the human rights of people with disabilities;
  11. implement quality, service and practice strategies or activities that safeguard and protect the person from abuse, neglect, exploitation, violence, discrimination, harm and any restrictive practice that diminishes human rights. Any breaches of rights are immediately addressed through the Customer Feedback and Complaints Policy or the Management of Customer Incidents Policy; and
  12. work towards the safe elimination of restrictive practices or reduce the use of such practice, and that if required, the limitation of the person’s rights are lawful under the Disability Act 2006 on restrictive practices.
  13. ensure that employees and families are prohibited from inducing a person (client) to change or suppress their sexual orientation or gender identity as required under the Change or Suppression (Conversion) Practices Prohibition Act 2021.

Committees or Groups Supporting the Human Rights Policy

Service Delivery and Quality Committee (SDQC) is a Board Committee that oversees all matters relating to service delivery to clients, quality, clinical risks, and innovation.

Yooralla Community Partnership Advisory Committee comprises people with disabilities, families/carers and senior management to advise the Executive and Board on matters that affect them in order to improve Yooralla services and practice. This group reports to the Board via the Chief Executive Officer.

There are many other local steering committees, advocacy and/or family groups that meet regularly across Yooralla services or that Yooralla has established or supports to strengthen human rights. Contact the Chief Experience Officer for further information.

5. Responsibilities

These management positions are responsible for implementation and compliance monitoring of the policy in their work areas:

the Yooralla Executive needs to inspire trust at all times and role model Yooralla’s values and integrity. They need to have a clear vision for the future; develop the strategies that will achieve our goals and engage all stakeholders to join them on the journey;

Yooralla Managers have the responsibility to monitor, check and ensure that all elements of human rights are implemented within their area of responsibility. Managers are responsible for ensuring employees attend and participate in training and development in the area of safeguarding rights;

Yooralla employees are responsible for ensuring that human rights are translated and applied in their daily work. Employees are to attend and participate in training and development in the area of safeguarding rights;

individuals, families and other stakeholders are encouraged to provide feedback to the organisation regarding its processes and practices, so that Yooralla can learn and improve on what they do; particularly feedback that enhances the rights of the person;

the Client Rights and Empowerment (CRE) team led by the Chief Experience Officer provides peer support and leadership mentoring, training and development. The CRE team works in partnership with external advocacy agencies and provides counselling and other activities that strengthens self-advocacy and the voice of the person and/or family/carer/support person;

the Chief Practitioner has oversight of the embedding of safeguarding rights across the organisation and to provide thought leadership on human rights in the sector;

Yooralla employees take responsibility for their practice and professional behaviour, and how they deliver services as expected of them by Yooralla;

from time to time, there will be complex matters or events that pose a need for a deeper reflection on Yooralla’s human rights practice and its potential impact on service delivery and/or organisational strategy or policy. Where such matters are identified, employees should bring these to the attention of their Executive Director or Chief Practitioner; and

to promote, protect and fulfil human rights, the CEO and Executive members will deliberate on such matters or events using the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) Client Charter of Rights and Responsibilities, relevant professional association’s ethics or code of conduct, and relevant legislation where appropriate.

6. Employee Training and Development

  • Induction: Key Policies (includes Human Rights Policy, Client Charter of Rights and Responsibilities, Management of Client Incidents Policy)
  • Induction: Human Rights Principles
  • Induction: Human Rights in Practice
  • Safeguarding Human Rights and NDIS Code of Conduct eLearning course
  • Person Centred Active Support: Supporting Inclusion eLearning course (includes practical component of activities and questions that need to be completed in on-site)

8. Standards and Conventions

The following Standards and Conventions apply to this policy and supporting documentation:

NDIS Practice Standards and Quality Indicators

1. Rights and Responsibilities

– Person-centred Supports

– Individual Values and Beliefs

– Privacy and Dignity

– Independence and Informed Choice

– Violence, Abuse, Neglect, Exploitation and Discrimination

3. Provision of Supports

– Access to Supports

– Responsive Support Provision

NDIS Code of Conduct

Child Safe Standards

Standard 1 – Organisations establish a culturally safe environment in which the diverse and unique identities and experiences of Aboriginal children and young people are respected and valued

Standard 2 – Child safety and wellbeing is embedded in organisational leadership, governance and culture

Standard 3 – Children and young people are empowered about their rights, participate in decisions affecting them and are taken seriously

Standard 4 - Families and communities are informed, and involved in promoting child safety and wellbeing

Standard 5 – Equity is upheld and diverse needs respected in policy and practice

Standard 6 – People working with children and young people are suitable and supported to reflect child safety and wellbeing values in practice

Standard 7 – Processes for complaints and concerns are child focused

Standard 8 – Staff and volunteers are equipped with the knowledge, skills and awareness to keep children and young people safe through ongoing education and training

Standard 9 – Physical and online environments promote safety and wellbeing while minimising the opportunity for children and young people to be harmed

Standard 10 – Implementation of the Child Safe Standards is regularly reviewed and improved

Standard 11 – Policies and procedures document how the organisation is safe for children and young people

Human Services Standards

Standard 1 – Empowerment

Standard 2 – Access and Engagement

Standard 3 – Wellbeing

Standard 4 – Participation

National Quality Standard (ACECQA)

Quality Area 1 – Educational Program and Practice

Quality Area 2 – Children’s Health and Safety

Quality Area 3 – Physical Environment

Quality Area 5 – Relationships with Children

Quality Area 6 – Collaborative Partnerships with Families and Communities

Victorian Disability Worker Commission – Code of Conduct

United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities


10. Glossary

Any defined terms and abbreviations below are specific to this document

Alternative and augmentative communication – communication presented in accessible formats appropriate for the person (such as using signing, pictorial formats, voice output devices or information in plain English). Yooralla recognises alternative and augmentative communication that are recommended and approved by Speech Pathology Australia.

Support plans – any client related plans that are required by legislation, contractual agreements or requested by the client. The support plans comprise but are not limited to the following: client support plans, lifestyle plans, individual support plans, health-care, behaviour support, education or therapy plans.

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