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  • Neglect happens when you are denied the things you need to live a safe, comfortable, healthy life
  • Neglect mainly affects people who access help with daily tasks
  • If you are experiencing neglect it is important to know that support is available
  • If you need support finding or contacting services, an advocate may be able to help

What is neglect?

Neglect happens when the person or people who care for you do not give you the things you need to be healthy, comfortable and safe. There may be a pattern to the behaviour that happens again and again. Sometimes other types of abuse are going on at the same time. If this kind of abuse is being used to scare and control you it may be domestic or family violence.

Neglect mainly affects people who access help with daily tasks. The main groups affected by neglect are:

  • People with disability who receive support from a carer, family member, paid support worker or service provider
  • Elderly people who access regular care
  • Children
  • People living in our accessing institutional environments, including group homes and day support facilities
  • People who temporarily need extra support with daily living. For example, someone recovering from surgery or an accident.

Being neglected means you don’t have all the things you need to feel healthy and safe. These things might include:

  • Enough good quality food and water
  • Enough personal care and personal support
  • A place to live that is safe, clean and healthy
  • Enough space for personal privacy
  • Enough bathroom space for privacy
  • Access to outings
  • Transportation to necessary appointments
  • The right clothes and shoes for the weather
  • Ways to keep your clothes and body clean. This might include access to running water or help to wash yourself.
  • A safe, peaceful, comfortable place to sleep
  • Love and care. This means that you are treated kindly, that you have people to talk to, and that you feel cared for and valuable.

It is important to know that everyone has a right to these things. Neglect can be a form of domestic or family violence. If someone who is meant to be helping you feel cared for and safe is not doing so, it’s OK to ask for help.

What is institutional neglect?

Institutional neglect is neglect that happens in any facility that is responsible for providing care or support.

Institutions can include:

  • Group homes
  • Aged care facilities
  • Hospitals
  • Mental health facilities
  • Schools, including public, private and boarding schools
  • Childcare centres and family day care homes
  • Family foster care homes
  • Residential care facilities
  • Day support facilities
  • Detention and treatment facilities

Who is responsible for neglect?

Neglect can happen in institutional environments by the people who work or live there, as well as any relationship, including with:

  • Boyfriends, girlfriends, partners, husbands or wives
  • Ex-boyfriends, ex-girlfriends, ex-partners, ex-husbands or ex-wives
  • Carers or paid support workers
  • Parents, guardians or other family members
  • Adult children
  • Other people you live with or see often, whether inside or outside the home

None of these people has the right to deny or stop you from having the things you need to live a healthy, safe, comfortable life.

If the people who are meant to care for you are neglecting or abusing you, you may feel like you have no one to go to for support. In these cases, an advocate may be able to help.