Hireup has a Zero Tolerance policy towards the abuse, negligence, neglect and exploitation of people with disability. We believe empowering people with disability and their families through greater choice and control is a natural safeguard in preventing abuse, negligence, neglect and exploitation. In addition to this, we have built a number of safeguards into our platform and policies to ensure that we are fostering a safe and appropriate online and offline community for all of our users.
What is abuse and neglect?
Abuse and neglect involves a person or a group of people exercising power and control over another. Abuse and neglect can occur as an isolated incident or be ongoing over a period of time. It can be intentional or unintentional, subtle, involving coercion and deceit, or it can be explosive and violent. By comparison to the general population, people with disability are more likely to experience abuse and neglect.
For instance, people with disability are more likely to experience abuse and neglect due to:
- The unique environments where people live, work and socialise
- Requiring support from others to meet physical and intimate needs
- Challenges in expressing to others that abuse and neglect is occurring due to cognitive, communication and/or sensory impairment
- Challenges to accessing the community, advocacy and family networks
Types of abuse
Physical abuse: any non-accidental physical injury or injuries to a child or adult, such as inflicting pain of any sort, or causing bruises, fractures, burns, electric shock, or unpleasant sensation (e.g. taste, heat or cold) as well as restrictive practices which are not contained in the person seeking support's positive behaviour support plan.
Sexual abuse: any sexual contact between an adult and a child 16 years of age or under; or any sexual activity with a person with impairment of the mind. Sexual activity includes intercourse, genital manipulation, masturbation, voyeurism, sexual harassment, and also inappropriate exposure to pornographic media, etc.
Psychological or emotional abuse: verbal communication that is threatening or demeaning, threats of maltreatment, harassment, humiliation, intimidation, failure to interact with a person or to acknowledge the person’s presence, or denial of cultural or religious needs and preferences.
Financial abuse: refers to the illegal or improper use of a person’s property or finances or the withholding of another person’s resources by someone with whom the person has a relationship implying trust.
Chemical abuse: refers to any misuse of medications and prescriptions, including the withholding of medication and over-medication. Abuse through denial of access to legal remedies – denial of access to justice or legal systems that are available to other citizens and denial of informal or formal advocacy support requested by the person seeking support or their substitute decision maker.
Neglect: is the failure to provide the necessary care, aid or guidance to dependent adults or children by those responsible for their care. Neglect includes, but is not limited to the following:
- Physical neglect: failure to provide adequate food, shelter, clothing protection, supervision and medical and dental care, or to place persons at undue risk through unsafe environments or practices.
- Passive neglect: the failure to fulfil care-taking responsibilities because of inadequate caregiver knowledge, infirmity, or the failure to implement prescribed services.
- Emotional neglect: the failure to provide the nurturing or stimulation needed for the social, intellectual and emotional growth or wellbeing of an adult or child.
Wilful deprivation: wilfully denying a person access to medication, medical care, shelter, food, a therapeutic device or other physical assistance, thereby exposing that person to risk of physical, mental or emotional harm.
Crimes of Omission: negligence, i.e. the failure to act with the appropriate duty of care.
Exploitation: is taking advantage of the vulnerability of a person with a disability in order to use them, or their resources, for another's profit or advantage (e.g. financial abuse).
Barriers to reporting
There can be barriers that prevent people from reporting abuse, neglect or exploitation. These could include:
- Limited education and training opportunities
- Person's history
- Language and communication
- Views of disability and sexuality
Hireup plays a critical role in the prevention of abuse, neglect and negligence.
It is our responsibility to ensure that:
- All Hireup users are appropriately screened and verified prior to entering the community
- All Hireup users are educated on abuse and neglect
- We are proactively monitoring our community to look out for warning signs of abuse, neglect and negligence
- We remove barriers to reporting by creating a culture that is open and responsive to feedback, complaints and incident notifications
- We respond to reports in a timely, fair and serious manner
- Hireup users are not negatively impacted as a result of reporting concerns or providing feedback
- Hireup users and their families and carers, who have identified and reported incidents of abuse, neglect and exploitation are provided with support
- We make the mandatory reports to relevant state and territory government departments and regulators in a timely manner
By joining our community, you are partnering with Hireup to ensure the safe and appropriate delivery of disability support. As a Hireup user you must:
- Be invested in the wellbeing of our users
- Assist Hireup to prevent and manage abuse and neglect by noting your concerns or reporting incidents
- Work with Hireup to investigate and resolve incidents and issues as they arise
- Hold Hireup to account by providing us with feedback when we’re not meeting your expectations around wellbeing
Safeguarding and Response Systems
We have developed a range of safeguarding and response systems to ensure that we are actively preventing abuse and neglect and can respond to incidents quickly and professionally.
User Screening Process
All users go through a comprehensive screening process to ensure that it is safe and appropriate for them to be part of the Hireup community.
People seeking support provide detailed support plans and have a one-on-one phone call with our Community Support team to understand their goals and needs.
Support Workers go through a pre-employment identification and verification process to ensure they are compliant with our requirements. Support Workers must provide a provide a current police record check and a valid working with children/vulnerable people check. Two professional references are contacted to ensure they are appropriate and to identify any cause for concern.
We proactively engage with our users to build understanding, capacity and awareness of abuse, neglect and negligence. This is delivered through multiple channels such as community events, online training courses, webinars and one-on-one support.
User Wellbeing Checks
Our Community Support team conducts regular check ins with our active users to ensure they are feeling safe, supported and able to report concerns or incidents.
Feedback & Evaluation
Users have multiple channels to report concerns or incidents, feedback and complaints, including:
- The 24-hour online incident report form
- Ongoing Relationship Check-Ins
Incident and Feedback Response Team
Hireup has an incident response team that is available 24/7 to investigate and resolve incidents. On top of this, the team ensures that each piece of feedback is reviewed and responded to swiftly and discreetly.