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zero tolerance: violence, abuse, neglect & exploitation

We believe the abuse and neglect of people with disability is shameful and completely unacceptable. We have a responsibility to uphold the human rights of people with disability, and to speak up and act whenever we observe any infringement on a person’s human rights. We have zero tolerance for abuse and other violations of a person’s human rights.

Our human rights practice through The Melba Way embeds our human rights approaches, such as Positive Behaviour Support and Person-Centred Active Support. Critical to these approaches is Zero Tolerance of violence, abuse, neglect or exploitation. We work hard to ensure a positive speaking up culture and to educate in human rights.

Importantly, Melba actively promotes a speaking-up culture. Wherever and whenever incidents are reported or uncovered, we act quickly and decisively to ensure people are safe and to investigate. We have a response service that operates 24/7, 365 days of the year. We actively support people to speak up, providing various ways to do this, including:

•         Our online incident reporting system, with direct reporting to the CEO for any incidents that abuse a person’s rights

•         Engagement of a third-party protective disclosure (whistleblower) service

•         A welcoming of complaints approach - any member of the Melba Community is supported in making a complaint to whomever they are most comfortable. This can be directly to the CEO.

•         Provision of independent advocacy to support a complaint.


The Melba Way also includes:

•         Cyclical use of a Human Rights Checklist to ensure that our practice is consistently focused on upholding people’s human rights

•         Planning with people to ensure that their rights are translated to practice and that we support them to achieve their personal outcomes

•         A team of practice coaches who work alongside support workers

•         Our Positive Behaviour Support practice, which is trauma-informed and of the highest standard in supporting people who use behaviours of protest to communicate an unmet need or want

•         A 24/7 practice hotline for support staff


Our approach is underpinned by the Victorian Charter of Human Rights. We are accountable to the people we support who purchase our services – including through the Board’s Practice Quality and Safeguards Committee which is attended by people we support who are members of our human rights/self-advocacy group at Melba, ARROW.

ARROW, Melba’s group of self-advocates, play a critical role in all things we do. The voices of people we support have to be the loudest and must always be heard. People must be the decision makers in their own lives. Inclusive governance is vital to ensuring people with disability self-determine in all parts of their life. We strive to ensure people have ultimate choice and control over their lives, whether that’s about the delivery of day-to-day supports or from a governance perspective. ARROW is a vital part of this work – making sure that individuals (in particular those with complex needs, and who may not use words to communicate) have a true, impactful and lasting voice.

Melba is always looking for new ways to prevent any form of abuse and to improve the reporting and investigation of complaints. We believe we can always do better to ensure the human rights of people with disability are upheld.


Media enquiries to Chrissy Paterson on 0433 261 026


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