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Practice Statement: Rights and Responsibilities

Spectrum Care believes that we all have the responsibility to promote and protect people’s rights. Knowledge about rights, laws and supports is an important first step.

We then put this knowledge into practice by promoting rights through proactive strategies, such as:

  • Respecting individual preferences and choices
  • Encouraging individual decision making
  • Offering people multiple opportunities and experiences

It must be noted that rights are balanced by responsibilities. We assist people to exercise their own rights, and to understand their responsibilities and the outcomes of their actions.

Rights are fundamental to all people. WE must ensure we focus on everyday opportunities and experiences in promoting and educating people on their rights. It is important for all support staff to work in partnership to ensure each person understands their rights and responsibilities in the context of their decision making.

It is important to take the time to discuss the consequences that may follow from their decision making, and how it may impact on the person and other concerned parties. Respecting each individual’s contribution in their decision making around rights, lives, responsibility and expectations should always be considered as important.

Practice Definition: Rights and Responsibilities

What would be observed in practice:

  • A proactive approach is required to determine what rights and personal freedoms are most important to each person, and support is required to ensure people are able to exercise those rights and personal freedoms
  • Support staff must be willing to go beyond the basic level of making sure that rights are not limited
  • All team members must advocate to ensure each person is treated with respect and dignity
  • Key workers and support staff must seek ways to support people to actively exercise rights, eg welfare guardians, advocacy, advisory group
  • Staff should encourage ongoing conversations with people about rights and responsibilities to improve understanding and awareness of issues
  • Whenever a person expresses dissatisfaction (ie verbally or behaviourally) with anything (eg where they live, where they work, how they socialise, with whom they live, what progress they’ve made toward reaching their dreams etc), support staff should raise questions about rights, eg:
    • Are any rights being violated at this time?
    • If the person did not have a disability, how would we handle the dissatisfaction?
    • What choices and support alternatives might be available to them in this situation?
    • How can the organisation support this person to use those supports?
  • If you or your family were in this situation, how would you respond?

Role-based Resources

Residential Staff

Discussion Questions

  1. How do we educate the people we support about their rights and the responsibilities that go with them? How do we know that people understand what we are teaching them?
  2. In light of the poem and second video how do we promote the rights of the people we support? What kinds of choices do they have in their lives? Can we provide them with more?
  3. The news article is a perfect, real-life example of advocacy on many different levels (self, peer and systemic). Can we draw any lessons about how we can support peopel to advocate on their own behalf?
  4. What should we do when we suspect or a person tells us that their rights are being abused? How can people access advocacy support?

Community Services

Discussion Questions

  1. What do we currently do that either enhances or takes away from people’s rights? What else can we do to enhance their rights while accessing our services?
  2. What is our role in educating and supporting the people who access our services about their rights, responsibilities and advocacy? How can we integrate that with the service we provide?
  3. What is our role in educating and supporting the other people in our people’s lives (eg their parents, staff from other services) about rights and advocacy?
  4. Read the news article and discuss the role we have in advocating for the people we support in terms of rights abuses.

Hub and Support Staff

Discussion Questions

  1. Watch the video and discuss how your team can safeguard the rights of the people Spectrum supports? Is there more that you can do going forward?
  2. How should we model respect for rights to other staff, people, parents and organisations who contact us, visit the hub or we otherwise interact with?
  3. Read the poem and the news article on Ashely Peacock and identify any institutional barriers at Spectrum Care that may violate individual’s rights? Can these be removed or modified?

Managers and Coordinators

Discussion Questions

  1. Discuss how we balance the tension between risk to people and their Rights, particularly their right to choice. How can we support our staff to navigate these often competing priorities?
  2. How do we model to staff our respect of individual rights, both those of people and the staff supporting them?
  3. What responsibility do we have as a provider to advocate against systemic rights abuses?

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