History and Current Context of Disability and Role of Social Service Assessment 2 Answer
Disability is either born with a person or is inherited. In either case, it is unfortunate. However, people who treat disabled as terrible and commit inhumane acts such as ill-treatment, ignorance, discrimination, etc. make it more unfortunate. (PWD Australian Government, 2020) Social service comes as a rescue to protect people who suffer not just physical or mental barriers, but also stigmas and stereotypes. Over the years, numerous changes, and for good, have taken place in Australia with the help of plans, policies and schemes. In this essay, let us discuss the disability from various perspectives, and we shall also discuss the role of social service in this regard.
When we talk about the history of disability in Australia, various authors didn't shy away from calling it as 'Social Apartheid'. It is used for the people who are set apart, denied fundamental rights and treated differently, even poorly. (Goggin, G., & Newell, C., 2005) Australia was a British colony and became a commonwealth in the year 1901. There is no doubt that over the years, many improvements have taken place in the regard of disabled people and making their lives better. However, the past of disability, not just in Australia but all over the world breaks our hearts. The disabled people, primarily indigenous, were subject to cruel and inhumane treatments. The journey to accepting disabled people a part of civil society has not been an easy one. The unjust behaviour, lack of social welfare schemes, lack of economic perspectives, stereotypes that labelled disabled as 'dependents' has done a lot of harm to the people and somehow suppressed the voices that could arise. People were viewed as defective, and their loved ones even abandoned them. The difficulties became double when it came to women. As they attained puberty, due to menstrual cycle, their lives became terrible. (Steele & Goldblatt, 2020) Being treated as dirty and worthless, the lives of disabled people have been no less than a slow death. The people with mental disability were even beaten up, as they unintentionally disturbed the lives of healthy people. All of this hits us, and questions us, why weren't people compassionate back then?
In the present context, the social service in Australia is politically recognized under the Department of Social Services (DSS). The underlying mission of the Department is to improve the condition of people and families belonging to the Australian Community. DSS works closely with Governments across the country to provide services to people and help them live a better life. (DSS, 2020) Concerning disability, it implements the National Disability Strategy 2010-20 that lay down unified policies to be followed by Central and State Governments. There are various schemes relating to insurance, parking, companion card, care and support, etc. that work for betterment for disabled and make their lives worth living with dignity. (Buckmaster & Clark, 2018) With the implementation of the Disability Discrimination Act 1992, there has been a tremendous change in society. People have the opportunity to work in different places; they cannot be denied working rights. (Disability Discrimination Act 1992, 2020) Maybe that is due to legal obligations, but at least it provides basic life to people. Bound by such legal obligations and fears of severe consequences due to any misconduct against a disabled, has spread awareness among people. We sincerely hope that one day; people would be empathetic towards disabled individuals with heart, not just with the fear of legal consequences. There is a lot good happening today, the concept of compassion practised by social workers, spreading love and having a feeling of empathy towards people has added value to the lives of people. The outlook of people is slowly but changing. We are focused on shifting the concept from 'sympathy' to `empathy', and we sincerely hope it will help us achieve our aims.
Disability was treated as a curse in earlier times. People for longer times have been denied an equal treatment of life and suffered not just physical but social barriers as well. However, with the pace of time, the mindset of people is changing. People have started to recognize disabled as just other individuals who too, deserve to earn their livelihoods and raise themselves independently. The challenges still do exists. Creating a just society for the people who are subject to a different mindset of people, often treated weaker/incompetent; was and still is, a big challenge faced by social workers.
All the governments across the world do care for disabled people. The reason being, unfortunately, they are born/adhere to problems that somehow snatch their rights to lead a good life. To enhance their potential and maximize their capabilities, the Australian Government has taken numerous steps as well. The National Disability Strategy 2010-20 is undoubtedly Australia's most imperative one that unites all the Governments of the States. The effective strategy shows a national approach and binds Australia. The National Disability Strategy 2010-20 is a ten-year national plan that will help people with disability live a life with dignity and also helps their family and carers. (NDS, 2010) The aim of the strategy lies in establishing the high-level policy framework that guides the governments to play an active role in delivering services to disabled and implement public policies that work towards gaining greater inclusion of people who are suffering from any disability. The Australian Government is also committed to providing economic security to the disabled by means of providing them with jobs, opportunities in regard of startups, businesses, attaining financial independence so they can live a life with dignity. Looking at the economic imperative, in the next 40 years, there is a likelihood that the number of people with a severe disability will increase from 1.4 million to 2.9 million. That is a considerable number and raises numerous concerns. Well, the National Disability Strategy is a relief by any means. The policies under the strategy pitch for better health, education, employment, and ultimately helping disabled earn their livelihood. With the advancement of Internet Technology, the scope of freelancing has increased two-folds where people can sit and work from their homes. This is like life-time opportunity for the disabled people, and this is where the Australian Government should focus a bit more.
Human rights are the essence of living a dignified life. However, the past incidences where people have denied fundamental human and judicial rights to people with disabilities break our hearts. The world is advancing, so are we. However, still, some people treat disabled people differently, intentionally or unintentionally, denying fundamental human rights and ultimately snatching their legal rights as well. The people today recognize their rights and pitch for them. In the year 2008, the Australian Government ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) (UN, 2020) It proudly ensured that the principles of Convention should be incorporated in its policies and strategies, thus providing human rights to people. A critical imperative in this regard is Advocacy. Disability Advocacy lends support to people and helps them safeguard their rights. It also helps them eliminate the barriers that block their way from self-development and hamper their day-to-day lives. One of the six principles of the National Disability Strategy gives due importance to Justice and Legislation. There is little doubt that persons with disabilities face discrimination by some or the other way. The strategy comes as a rescue by spreading awareness and helps people understand the rights of people who are disabled, significantly ensures their well-being by protecting their rights under the Disability Discrimination Act 1992. (Disability Discrimination Act, 1992) The Act substantially hits the unfair means that suppress the disabled. It also lays down sections for a Human Rights Commission that too, has separate legislation under the Human Rights Commission Act 1986. (Human Rights Commission Act, 1986)
The Australian Government has time and again taken actions for the persons with disability. The provisions under the National Disability Strategy, which are dedicated to providing a standard life to people, is undoubtedly a good move. With the advancement of Internet Technology, the scope of freelancing has increased two-folds where people can sit and work from their homes. This is like life-time opportunity for the disabled people, and this is where the Australian Government should focus a bit more. With the awareness programs and acts that ensure justice to disabled, the Australian Government has done a great job.
There are a handful of theories that are practised in the field of social service. Amongst them, let us discuss Crip Theory and Feminist Theory. Crip theory was born when people started studying 'disabilities'. The word 'Crip' emerged from the name cripple, the person who cripples due to disability. The theory allows one to experience disability, learn about the history of lives of people who lived with disabilities and understand the social barriers that didn't allow them to excel in their lives. (McRuer, R., 2006) Regarding social service, this theory is a milestone. It will enable the social workers to identify the background of disabilities and will allow them to work with great zeal to eliminate the ways in which the social barriers occur and prevent a happy life of such people. The idea of this theory is simple to understand. A non-disabled person who has no or minimal impairment knows how much time will be taken by him to perform a specific task, like eating, walking, etc. However, a person with disability might take much more time if he does these tasks. So there is no standard time or way of doing things, the theory says. This theory is applied in social service because it allows the workers to identify how much time would be consumed by a person with a specific disability, to perform particular tasks. (Hall, 2019) However, the theory has faced controversies due to the fact it is named as 'CRIP THEORY'. The word Crip might pose a differential mindset and allow people to follow the stereotypes that people with disabilities as 'crippled'.
The Feminist Theory came into being to realize how gender can act as a considerable disadvantage when it comes to disability. It demanded that people need to understand how gender has relegated the womanhood. Even in the socio-cultural aspect, women have been differentiated since ages. When disability adds on to this, it adds biological, cultural, environmental and attitudinal barriers. When the female body is born with disability, it is clearly denied the right to a healthy life. The socio-cultural attitude of people doesn't allow her to create a life worth living. The theory illuminates that our society desires for an able mind and physically fit body; the control over the body has led people to underrate people who need assistance from some of the other means. (Weiss, 2015) The reason why Feminist Theory is widely practised in Social Service is that in Australia, women are more disabled than men. This has raised concerns as females have been subject to oppression, sexism and have faced sexual misconducts over the ages. In such cases, women are more prone to such inhumane ill-treatments by people. However, it shall be noted that this theory which raises gender bias, doesn't commit one. It lightens the issues that disabled females face or prone to suffer but doesn't sideline masculinity. (Silvers & Anita, 2009) It respects the fair treatment for all disabled people and pitches for their rights.
It can be said that both ‘Crip Theory’ and ‘Feminist Theory’ are equally important when studied from different perspectives. These theories have the common intension, to make lives of disabled people, worth living. These theories significantly reveal the stigmas and discrimination that people commit without giving a thought. These theories help social workers to understand the historical background of disability and help them work for people keeping in mind the stigmas and discrimination that is prevalent even today.
The National Disability Strategy 2010-20 has proven to Australia's one of the most significant step taken in regard to disability. The strategy happens to be followed by all states of the commonwealth, irrespective of cultural and social diversities. The policy includes various plans; that deliver economic security, ensure health and well-being and allow people to learn and develop skills, provides rights and justice, enhances personal and community support and pitches for inclusive and accessible communities. The strategy is well-defined and consists of an implementation plan that makes governance arrangements involving stakeholders. It is run by competent personnel who monitor the performance of departments and report all the implementation effectively to the Australian Government. Then, the Department of Disability Services works in coordination with governmental and non-governmental organizations that work for disabled people. It has led down some specific schemes and policies that enable the disabled to live a life with dignity. Some of them include employment for people with disability, disability royal commission support services, a national disability insurance scheme, etc. (NDS, 2010) DSS mainly targets people with disability and provides them with assistance in the best way possible. It certainly helps the Government to implement the National Disability Strategy 2010-20. The carers in Australia are given immense importance. The DSS closely works with social workers. It allows them to excel their strengths and provide immediate care to disabled individuals. It keeps the social workers or carers involved by proving financial assistance and other supports as well. (DSS, 2020) The Australian Government time and again provides substantial financial support to carers so that they do not hesitate from participating due to financial barriers. The New Integrated Care Support Service, which was a part of the 2015-16 Budget, provides several supports that help social workers or carers reduce the day-to-day challenges and plan their future well. New services were opened for unpaid carers also.
Around 2.65 million people in Australia are helping people with disability, mental illness or some other health issue, live a good life. The Government takes a keen interest in promoting social workers to come together and do some good for disabled people. Apart from this, the Government has provided digital support to the carers like phone-based counselling to help carers overcome daily challenges. Other assistances such as online coaching is offered to carers who then can attain expertise in understanding about complexities of disabilities. All these initiatives of the Government are inclined to ensure good life to carers as well. (Disability and Carers, 2020) This support undoubtedly helps social workers or carers attain excellence in their service. When a person wants to serve the other people, it is evident that he doesn't aim to become impeccably rich or live a luxurious life. But at the same time, he deserves to live a decent living that allows him to serve more. These practices help the carers serve better.
There is little doubt that the Australian Government isn’t committed to provide genuine service to people with disabilities. The Disability Discrimination Act 1992 that sets up a Human Rights Commission 1986, when the power of both is combined; they are considered as strongest pillars of shielding disables from discrimination and unjust livelihood. (Disability Discrimination Act ,1992) (Human Rights Commission Act, 1986) The National Disability Strategy 2010-20 is a milestone that unifies all the states of the commonwealth, and a standard plan of action is followed throughout the nation. (NDS, 2010) The DSS works closely with social workers and allows them to serve the people. The assistances that are given to carers prove that Government is committed to ensuring well-being not just to disabled but the carers as well. (DSS, 2020)