Technical Report 1, 2014: LEFT BEHIND 2014: Monitoring the social inclusion of young Australians with self-reported long term health conditions, impairments or disabilities 2001 – 2012
published March 2014
This report is the second in a series reporting on the social inclusion/exclusion of disabled Australian adolescents and young adults. Our first report, Left Behind: 2013, mapped the social inclusion of young Australians (aged between 15 and 29) with self-reported long term health conditions, impairments or disabilities between 2001 and 2011. In that report we reported that disabled Australian adolescents and young adults were more likely to experience social exclusion than their non-disabled peers and that in many areas the gap in social inclusion between disabled and non-disabled young Australians had grown over time. Social exclusion in adolescence leads to poor outcomes, such as lower educational achievement and unemployment in adulthood. It affects not only the health and wellbeing of the individual; it also impacts on their family and the wider community. The inability of people with disabilities to participate socially and economically is a loss to the whole of society.
In this report we update Left Behind: 2013 by extending our mapping to the year 2012, the latest year for which data are available. We address two key questions:
· How did the social inclusion of young Australians with disabilities compare with that of their peers in 2012?
· Did the gap between the social inclusion of young Australians with and without disabilities narrowed or widened over the 12 year period from 2001 to 2012?
How Did the Social Inclusion of Young Australians with Disabilities Compare with That of Their Peers in 2012?
In 2012 young disabled Australians were fourteen times more likely than their non-disabled peers to experience entrenched multiple disadvantage (defined as experiencing disadvantage in at least three areas - income, work, education, safety and support - for two years or more).
Compared to their non-disabled peers, young disabled Australians in 2012 were significantly less likely to:
· Be employed
· Be fully engaged in education or work
· Attain Year 12 or equivalent educational qualification
· Obtain non-school qualifications
· Feel they have someone to turn to in time of crisis
· Report that they had a voice in the community
· Have contact with family/friends
· Get together socially with family or friends
Compared to their non-disabled peers, young disabled Australians in 2012 were significantly more likely to:
· Live in a jobless household
· Experience long-term unemployment
· Have low economic resources combined with financial stress and material deprivation
· Experience financial stress and material deprivation
· Have low subjective quality of life
· Have poorer self-assessed health
· Have mental illness
· Report feeling unsafe in their local area
· Be a victim of violent crime
· Experience multiple disadvantage and entrenched multiple disadvantage
Between 2001 and 2012 the gap between the social exclusion of disabled and non-disabled young Australians has widened markedly over time in 11 critical areas:
· Not being employed
· Living in a jobless household
· Being long-term unemployed
· Not being fully engaged in work or education
· Not acting as a volunteer
· Having low economic resources and financial stress
· Having low subjective well-being
· Not having someone to turn to in times of crisis
· Not having a voice in the community
· Experiencing multiple disadvantage
· Experiencing entrenched multiple disadvantage.
In not a single area has the gap narrowed over time.
Despite social policy interventions, such as employment schemes for those in long-term unemployment and policies to include people with disabilities in community activities and organisations, the aspiration for young disabled Australians to become more socially included appears even further out of reach. Australia is a prosperous nation, committed to redressing the profound social disadvantages people with disability experience and to promoting their participation in society. But it has yet to redress the significant and pervasive social exclusion faced by Australian adolescents and young adults with a disability.