Changing community attitudes to improve inclusion of people with disability
Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability
May 2021 – November 2021
UNSW Sydney Social Policy Research Centre – Professor Karen Fisher (lead), Dr Christiane Purcal, Dr Gianfranco Giutoli, Rosemary Kayess, Dr BJ Newton, Dr Qian Fang
UNSW Centre Social Research in Health – Associate Professor Christy Newman
The Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability (Royal Commission) wants to know what can be done to change attitudes towards people with disability so that they are better included in society.
The research aimed to produce evidence about effective policies to change attitudes. The study drew on the international literature and the Australian policy experience of governments and people with disability. It found two ways to change attitudes: using strategies that directly target attitude change; and strategies to change behaviour, with attitude change as a secondary purpose and outcome. The implications for government are that attitudes and behaviour both matter, both should be targeted for change, and both should be measured. The facilitators of attitude change are:
Active presence of people with disability
Targeting multiple levels and multiple types of policy and interventions
Long-term approaches with adequate resources
Measuring and monitoring change.
The research has produced new evidence about effective policies to change attitudes. The evidence will inform Royal Commission recommendations to prevent and address violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation of people with disability, and to promote inclusion.