Section three: Looking forward to 2015 and beyond

Work undertaken in 2014 has laid a strong foundation that can be built on in 2015 and beyond.

The new way of working with DPOs has enabled more informed decisions about where the priorities are on issues that are important to disabled people. This will be supported with the use of quality information from the 2013 Disability Survey.

Enabling Good Lives is providing a growing body of evidence of what works in ensuring disabled people have choice and control over their lives.

A new NZSL Advisory Board and Fund will draw attention to and support initiatives that promote and maintain the language long into the future.

The foundation for this work will be the implementation of the CRPD, drawing on recommendations from 2014 from the CRPD Committee and the Independent Monitoring Mechanism, including through the Disability Action Plan 2014-2018.

There are, however, several areas which require further focus:

  • improving the Disability Action Plan process and way of working with DPOs
  • review of the New Zealand Disability Strategy
  • improved efforts to collect, collate and use information and data to help with policy and service delivery
  • understanding the connection between gender and disability
  • acknowledging that the experience of disabled people who are Māori or from other ethnic groups can often be different
  • increasing action to prevent violence and abuse against disabled people
  • developing a coherent plan to address access barriers
  • improving employment opportunities for disabled people.

Improving the Disability Action Plan process and working with DPOs

The new Disability Action Plan 2014–2018 was developed with a new way of working between government agencies and DPOs. Further work will be required to bed down this co-design and collaborative approach and to ensure both DPOs and government agencies have the capability and capacity to engage with each other effectively.

In addition, more needs to be done to ensure greater transparency and opportunities for other stakeholders to provide input and advice to the further development and implementation of the Disability Action Plan.

Review of the New Zealand Disability Strategy

It is timely to review the New Zealand Disability Strategy as it was developed before the CRPD and the Disability Action Plan approach. A review will help ensure that it enhances New Zealand’s implementation of the CRPD and remains relevant for the next ten years.

It is expected that a review will also support implementation of agreed recommendations from the CRPD Committee and the Independent Monitoring Mechanism.

Collecting, collating and using data and evidence

Good quality decisions come from good quality data and evidence and having the right people available to provide input. Undertaking more research (including the collection and analysis of both quantitative and qualitative data) is essential for increasing public understanding about disability issues and the experiences of disabled New Zealanders.

While there has been some work done, and there are some rich sources of data, there are still a number of questions that remain to be answered:

  1. What are the high priority areas for more/better data and evidence?
  2. What information, both qualitative and quantitative, already exists? Is there data and evidence that hasn’t yet been collated and analysed?
  3. Based on the priority areas and what already exists, how can the data and evidence gaps best be filled?

It will only be through answering these questions that it will be possible to move beyond the prevailing concern that there is not enough data and evidence on disabled New Zealanders.

Building a stronger evidence base on disability supports the Government’s investment approach to improving services and delivering better outcomes for disabled New Zealanders most in need.

In late 2015, the Office for Disability Issues will start the development of a comprehensive monitoring framework. This will help with more systematic monitoring and reporting of progress in implementing the CRPD, New Zealand Disability Strategy and the Disability Action Plan. It will also assist in ensuring the focus is on the most relevant priorities, by monitoring emerging issues better.

Gender and disability

Understanding the intersection between gender and disability is not just about comparing disabled women and men against their non-disabled peers. It is also about understanding the situation of disabled boys and men compared with disabled girls and women. There can sometimes be good reasons why the figures, whatever way you split them, are not equal. For example, boys may be more likely to have some types of impairments (such as autism) compared to girls.

While there is some sex-disaggregated data available (including through the Statistics NZ Disability Survey) there remain some gaps in both the analysis of this, and the collection of data from other sources (such as administrative data). This makes it difficult to determine whether the situation among disabled women, men, girls and boys, and their non-disabled peers, is the same or different.

Disabled Māori and those from other ethnic groups

It is clear that disability rates vary by ethnic group. When the disability rates are adjusted in line with the younger age profile of Māori and Pasifika people, the differences in disability rates by ethnic group increase:

  • Māori – 32 percent
  • European/Pākehā – 24 percent
  • Pasifika – 26 percent
  • Asian – 17 percent.

Of relevance also is that Māori children have a disability rate of 15 percent compared with 9 percent for non-Māori children.

The 2013 Disability Survey shows that psychological/psychiatric impairments, difficulty with learning, difficulty with speaking and intellectual impairments are the four main impairment types experienced by Māori, including Māori children.

It is widely acknowledged that culture and well-being are closely linked. Lack of responsiveness to cultural and linguistic needs can impact on access to and use of services such as health, education and disability support. The Ministry of Health’s Disability Support Services, for example, emphasises culturally responsive service provision in both Whāia Te Ao Mārama: The Māori Disability Action Plan for Disability Support Services, 2012-2017 and Faiva Ora: National Pasifika Disability Plan, January 2014-June 2016. One of the priorities for the promotion and maintenance of NZSL is improving access for deaf Māori. Many deaf Māori have difficulty engaging with Māori culture, Te Reo Māori and tikanga Māori because of the need to access three different languages (that is English, Māori and NZSL). This leads to barriers for deaf Māori at the whānau, hapū and iwi level. There are currently only two trilingual interpreters who are competent in NZSL, Te Reo Māori and English. In recognition of this issue, the NZSL Fund will include support for trilingual interpreters.

Violence and abuse

The 2013 Disability Survey indicates that 12 percent of disabled adults (living in private households) said they had been the victim of crime in the past 12 months, including 4 percent who had experienced violent crime. These figures were slightly higher than those for non-disabled adults (10 percent and 2 percent, respectively).

Beyond this, there is little robust evidence available in New Zealand on the extent of violence and abuse experienced by disabled people. However, a consistent association has been found internationally between disability and the abuse of disabled people.

The most current international research[1] suggests that disabled children have an almost four-time higher risk of being abused, compared with non-disabled children. Disabled children’s risk of being exposed to physical and sexual abuse is at least three-times higher than for non-disabled children.

International research[2] also points to disabled adults being more likely than their non-disabled peers to be subjected to multiple forms of violence.

Developing a coherent plan to address access barriers

With work underway on access to public buildings, there will be an opportunity to expand the focus on accessibility into other high priority areas, in particular housing.

A key aspect of this will be developing a common understanding of accessibility, drawing potentially on a universal design approach. This will ensure plans to address barriers to accessibility are coherent, coordinated and future-proofed.

Improving employment opportunities for disabled people

There were several key developments in the area of employment in 2014, such as the approval of the Ministry of Social Development Health and Disability long-term work programme and the scope to develop better alternatives to the minimum wage exemption (under the Disability Action Plan). This provides a good foundation to ramp up initiatives that address the gap between the employment of disabled and non-disabled people. The low unemployment rate in Christchurch may also provide an opportunity to trial approaches that can be replicated elsewhere.

[1] Jones, L., Bellis, M.A. et al (2012). Prevalence and risk of violence against children with disabilities: A systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies. The Lancet, 380 (9845), 899-907.

[2] Hughes, K., Bellis, M.A. et al (2012). Prevalence and risk of violence against adults with disabilities: A systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies. The Lancet, 379 (9826), 1621-1629.

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