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Disability, Medical Health Aged Care

Shocking But Not Surprising; ABC Evolution Support Services Story

Mr River Night 4 mins read

Available for Comment 


Radio - Live, Pre-recorded and Talkback 




Mr River Night 

Leading National Disability Sector Advocate

Co-founder at Developing Australian Communities 

Public Officer at the National Disability Leadership Organisation


Mr Night is physically located in Brisbane this week


Mr Night is a National Disability Sector Advocate and outspoken supporter for reform and improvements in the Disability and NDIS sector and has worked across Disability, Youth Justice, Guardianship, Child Safety, Education, TAFE, Aged Care, Forensics Disability and Mental Health.


"Today we see Australian's expressing shock at the ABC story regarding an alleged incident involving Evolution Support Services, but I have to admit this story is not uncommon and the problems raised and issues here are exactly what we see daily and expect to continue to see until real action is taken", said Mr Night today. 


"This is life everyday for some until our Federal and State Government stop focusing on legislation and shonky provider claims as their only story and get real on practical, grassroots safeguards still missing and not prioritised after 4 years of a Disability Royal Commission and months since its release.


"When NDIS rolled out over 10 years ago we cut back and eliminated in many cases the most significant practical safeguard that policed providers through Community Visitor Programs. We in essence went to an 'honour system'. 


"If you can't access safeguards in big cities and people visiting to check, imagine living in regional Australia with almost nonexistent checks and independent visitors. 


"Exactly what do people expect will happen when we remove basic safeguards and people checking up? Just this year the Community Visitor Programs in some state attempted to reduce the number of visits to the few sites they do still go to. 


"With a totally new system rolled out like the NDIS, new framework, new reporting, new delegations, safeguards and monitoring or lack thereof, community visitors should have been scaled up as the only real safeguard to keep watch, while the NDIS spent 10 years figuring things out. 


"The Disability Sector is awash with violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation and still the simplest solutions are not urgently prioritised. Instead, we keep hearing the political comments that we know the voting public want to hear about rorting with the absence significant and urgent action to reintroduce community visitor programs, the cheapest and most effect check and balance we could ever use. 


"The Disability Royal Commission showed in their research that the majority of young people and most people living with disability experience violence.


"The alleged case involving Evolution Support Services represents incidents we see all the time in our sector and there is always much more context to these than just what we see in video footage. 


"The response to these allegations reported from our Safeguards Commission to Evolution Supports Services was not to close or cease their operations so they must be satisfied with the providers handling of this. As outsiders all we can do is watch the footage and behaviour and no one wants litigation for saying something about a provider when they don't have all the facts. 


"For each one of these stories that the Australian public sees, those of us that have spent decades working in this space can give you thousands more stories just as bad or worse. 


"Without intimate knowledge of this alleged incident the common questions I would ask would include, 

  • Did the site have a community visitor visiting regularly, reading incident reports, identifying behaviour support needs, and ensuring the provider was training staff, proper plans were in place or escalating the matter if not?
  • Were staff trained in proper behaviour support strategies that are recognised as best practice?
  • If staff allegedly knew they were on camera, then why would they use the approach they did unless as far as they knew this was what they should be doing?


"A system where safeguarding and regulation is based heavily on providers self-reporting is like scrapping traffic police and speed cameras and asking those that speed to drop into a police station and let officers know when they speed, so they can give them a ticket.


"As someone that has been a specialist in behaviour support, community visitor and worked with the most violent and complex individuals in Australia, with the most extreme behaviour, I am appalled at the total lack of observable action to get community visitors back in place as our number one action from the Royal Commission to safeguard and check up on people.


"It is an ongoing farce and plain dangerous funding providers to deliver complex behaviour support without good, face to face checks and balances and checks for restrictive practices and then act surprised and shocked when the inevitable occurs. No the Safeguard Commission does not do these visits and checks regularly.


"Until we take this seriously violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation costing taxpayers tens of billions of dollars a year is going to continue to be an everyday event. 


"For every incident caught on camera there would be thousands of far more shocking examples that are not, against people that can't speak up for themselves and have no community visitor to check. 


"Some people cannot wait another day. 

Key Facts:

River Night VNR Facebook Link - We can't wait another day to fix NDIS  Contact for a copy of the video if required 


ABC Story Link  NDIS provider Evolution Support Services accused of excessive use of force against people with disability - ABC News



Contact details:


M 0401429403 

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