An open letter to the Mambourin community from the CEO

The critically important issue of abuse and neglect of people with disabilities is under the spotlight with the recent decision by government to appoint a Royal Commission.

I find it extremely distressing to read media reports describing abhorrent situations faced by people in some disability support settings – situations that must be addressed in the strongest terms possible. If it takes a Royal Commission to bring them into the daylight, then so be it.

I feel great empathy for every person with a loved one in a disability support setting and the fear and concern they must experience every time they hear such reports. Although none of these reports relate to Mambourin, I am sure that they would be a cause for concern to our community and I would like to give you some comfort regarding Mambourin.

I can assure families and friends that Mambourin is full of trusted people whose only focus is to provide the best quality care and support. We have a zero tolerance to any form of abuse or neglect. All allegations are taken seriously and fully investigated.

We undertake careful staff selection and induction, with particular focus on staff attitudes and values towards human rights and person-centred practices. Staff undertake human rights training periodically. No-one works unsupervised without appropriate qualifications and police checks.

We have robust complaints policies and procedures, including a whistle-blower policy, and a risk-based approach identifying situations where people could be vulnerable to abuse or neglect. This is underpinned by an organisational culture which focuses on the person at the centre. In the context of preventing abuse and neglect, control and choice is very powerful.

We conduct regular sessions with our participants about self-advocacy to speak up if something is making them uncomfortable, unhappy or just ‘doesn’t feel right’. We start from a position of empowerment where the person is always taken seriously and we investigate fully.

Our values are at the centre of everything we do. Every single day we strive to ‘put the person first’ and focus on ‘service excellence’. We routinely evaluate and assess staff members’ alignment with Mambourin’s values and the positive culture that we espouse. We reward staff who have great alignment, and actively manage staff who don’t.

Mambourin has a policy and supporting procedure which are compatible with the Interagency Guideline for Addressing Violence, Neglect and Abuse developed by the Office of the Public Advocate Victoria which Mambourin has fully endorsed.

Any Mambourin community member is welcome to request a copy of these documents (or any other policy or procedure) at any time.

Individuals are reminded that they can make complaints to the National Disability Abuse and Neglect Hotline on 1800 880 052.

Please feel free to call me at any time on 0409 136 157 or email me at rbraddy@mambourin.org if you have any concerns. I promise to listen, and to act.

Rohan Braddy

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