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L.I.S.A Inc
LISA... is a parent support and lobby group, for parents and families with a family member having an intellectual or multiple disability, and living in a supported accommodation group home in the State of Victoria, Australia.
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Improve Safeguards for Vulnerable People

NDS Zero Tolerance Framework

The Zero Tolerance project, led by NDS in partnership with the disability sector, is a response to existing and emerging challenges to improve safeguards for people with disability. It will deliver a framework with practical tools and resources for disability services providers to improve prevention, early intervention and responses to abuse, neglect and violence towards people with disability.

Zero Tolerance aims to provide an evidence-based, nationally consistent and contemporary approach to preventing and responding to abuse which can impact on organisational cultures, improve practice, and influence the development of safeguarding mechanisms emerging from the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

The Zero Tolerance framework

Drawing on consultation with people with disability, the disability sector, government and other experts in abuse prevention and response, NDS has developed the Zero Tolerance framework. It offers a curriculum of safeguarding topics for CEOs, boards and senior managers of disability organisations to address as part of their safeguarding approaches.

The framework was informed by a national reference group comprising statutory bodies, expert professionals, academics, advocacy organisations and service providers with contemporary expertise on abuse prevention and response.

NDS is using the framework for the next stage of the project, the development of practical tools and resources for staff. This includes frontline disability staff and supervisors, managers, CEOs and boards (PDF 609KB, Word 60KB).

Improving safety screening for support workers

NDS recently released a paper (PDF 562KB, Word 197KB) on improving safety screening for disability support workers. This covers current inadequacies and inconsistencies across jurisdictions and service sectors, and presents proposals to mitigate and/or remedy them.

If you have any questions or comment about the paper, please contact Tessa Thompson, National Policy Manager, on 03 8341 4305 or

Speaking Up About Safety: people with disability talk about safety

In partnership with advocacy organisations and industry experts, a series of focus groups were conducted with people with disability in 2014. The groups explored concepts of personal safety at home, in the community and in the provision of disability services.

A focus group was held in each state and territory, with additional groups examining safety for women with disability; people with complex communication needs; and Indigenous people with disability living in rural and remote communities.

A report that synthesises the focus group data is now available. Titled Speaking Up about Safety, it offers the perspectives of people with disability and identifies issues for service providers to consider. A summary report is also available (PDF 821KB, Word 64KB; Easy Read PDF 456KB, Easy Read Word 38KB).

Zero Tolerance Practice Advice

The project is producing a series of practice advice sheets to help organisations improve safeguards for the people they support. Each sheet focuses on a specific element of preventing and responding to abuse and neglect. Organisations should consider individual sheets as part of a range of approaches to reduce risks for people with disability.        

The first advice sheet (PDF 730KB, Word 45KB) on Safer Recruitment and Screening was released in April 2014. It is intended to assist service providers in using recruitment and screening processes to prevent potential abusers gaining employment. It outlines useful tips that should form the basis of any good human resources processes for organisations that support vulnerable people.

Further practice advice sheets are in development and will be added when available.

Disability Sector consultation forums

Zero Tolerance consultation forums were held in each State and Territory in late 2013. The forums were well attended by a range of disability service providers, government and independent statutory body representatives, advocacy groups and other professionals. Feedback from the forums was presented to the NDS CEO Meeting in Sydney on 4 December 2013.

A summary report of the consultations is available [Word 500KB]. The presentation used in the consultation forums are available [PDF 8MB] [Word 50KB].

Keynote speeches from some forums are also available:

  • Hobart: Robin Banks, Anti-Discrimination Commissioner [Word 50KB]
  • Darwin: Lisa Coffey, Health and Community Services Complaints Commissioner [PDF 50KB]
  • Brisbane: Lesley Chenoweth, Griffith University [PPT 120KB]
  • Sydney: Sally Robinson, Southern Cross University [PPT 650KB]
  • Perth: Marenée Provost, the Centre for Cerebral Palsy [Word 30KB]
  • Canberra: Chris Redmond, Woden Community Services [Word 30KB]

National Disability Abuse and Neglect helpline

The National Disability Abuse and Neglect Hotline is a free and independent telephone service for reporting cases of neglect and abuse of people with disability in the community.

If you are a person with disability who has experienced abuse and neglect or would like to talk to someone about suspected abuse and neglect, contact (free call) 1800 880 052 or visit the hotline website: for more information.

If you fear that you or someone you know is in imminent danger call 000 now to receive immediate assistance from the police, ambulance or fire services.


Questions about the Zero Tolerance project can be sent to James Bannister, Senior Sector Development Officer, via email at or call on (03) 8341 4316.

LISA Inc   ~   Phone: 03 9434 3810   ~   Email:   ~   Address: 73 Nepean Street Watsonia VIC 3087

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