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How do we create a more inclusive society for persons with disabilities?

woman in wheelchair
Photo: City of Perth/Facebook

A research report commissioned by the Disability Royal Commission has found leadership by people with disability must be visible in order to change community attitudes and behaviour towards persons with disabilities.

The Changing community attitudes to improve inclusion of people with disability research report, released today, identifies a range of approaches needed to promote greater inclusion of people with disability.

The research was conducted by the University of New South Wales and Flinders University. It is inclusive of the intersectional experiences of culturally diverse people as well as members of the LGBTQIA+ community, First Nations people, and people living in rural and remote areas.

A series of case studies is included in the report, focussing on promoting women’s safety, culturally safe housing services, and empowering children and young people.

Researchers asked more than 60 people from business, government, community and advocacy organisations around Australia about how to change community attitudes and behaviour towards people with disability. They also looked at past studies on changing attitudes and behaviour.

Key findings include:

  • long term approaches with adequate resourcing are needed to achieve structural and sustained change
  • research should be measured and monitored to inform decisions and help hold organisations accountable
  • change across multiple levels and types of policy should be targeted in governments and organisations.

The report identifies that changes to attitudes should occur in:

  • personal perceptions held by individuals
  • everyday interactions between individuals with and without disability
  • communities, organisations and governments, including schools and employment settings.

The research highlights that different approaches are needed to create change, including funding increases, law and regulation, guidelines and advertising.

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