PRESS RELEASE: SAFMH CONDEMNS ABUSE OF LEARNER WITH DISABILITY
18 September 2017
The SA Federation for Mental Health is very concerned by the video footage that emerged this morning, showing a learner with a mental disability being beaten and forced off a school bus by staff of the Adelaide Tambo School. Although we welcome the fact that the staff member responsible has allegedly been placed on suspension and charged with assault, the video highlights the mistreatment that many people with mental disabilities still face.
Persons with mental disabilities are often vulnerable to abuse and discrimination, and children with mental disabilities especially need our protection and care. The fact that adults who are entrusted with the care of vulnerable children would physically and verbally abuse them in this way is shocking and is a blatant violation of the learner’s human rights. The Life Esidimeni tragedy has been a lesson in what can happen if people with mental disabilities are not treated with dignity and respect, and it is unfortunate that even after Life Esidimeni we still see human rights violations like these take place.
SAFMH would like to call on all sectors of society to respect and uphold the rights of persons with mental disabilities, and to speak up if they see these rights being violated in any way. We also call on Government to ensure that teachers and care workers who work with children with mental disabilities receive the training and support needed to enable them to provide these children with the proper care. Members of the public are encouraged to report any cases of human rights violations to the SAFMH Mental Health Watch Reporting System:
Tel: 011 781 1852
Sms/whatsapp: 076 0788 722
FOR ENQUIRIES INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT:
Programme Manager: Information & Awareness
SA Federation for Mental Health