Disability and disadvantage

Led by Professor Eric Emerson, Professor and Chair in Disability Population Health

‘Persons with disabilities continue to face barriers in their participation as equal members of society and violations of their human rights in all parts of the world’
(Preamble, UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities)


People with disabilities face widespread disadvantage and discrimination. For example, our research has shown that in 2011 young disabled Australians were five times more likely than their non-disabled peers to experience long-term unemployment and entrenched multiple disadvantage.

We need to know more about two key issues:

  1. How well are countries doing in combating the discrimination and disadvantage experienced by people with disabilities?
  2. What are the personal, social and economic costs of exposure to disadvantage and discrimination?

This workstream will focus on both of these areas.

  1. We will develop ways of monitoring the disadvantage and discrimination experienced by people with disabilities in the Asia Pacific region.
  2. We will do research on the impact that disadvantage and discrimination has on the wellbeing of people with disabilities.

Monitoring

Countries need to find better ways of recording and reporting on the extent and nature of the disadvantage and discrimination experienced by people with disabilities. This will help governments and non-government organisations (including disabled people’s organisations) to keep track of progress. It will help them identify areas where disadvantage and discrimination is being reduced. It will help them identify areas where it is getting worse. In Australia, it will help government and non-government organisations to assess the impact of major policy initiatives such as the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

We are working on two specific projects.

  • We have developed a way of monitoring whether the disadvantage experienced by adolescents and young adults with disabilities in Australia has changed since 2000. We will update this report every year. We also aim to extend this report to working-age adults and to seniors in the future View the report and access relevant journal papers
  • We have published a report on the disadvantage experienced by children with disabilities in four low and middle income countries in the Asia Pacific region. As new data on child disability becomes available from UNICEF, we will report on other countries.

Research

We need to know more about the personal, social and economic costs of disadvantage and discrimination. Our research is focused on answering the following four questions.

  • How many people with disability experience different types of adversity or disadvantage (e.g., poverty, social exclusion, harassment, abuse, hate crime)? Are groups, such as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, culturally and linguistically diverse communities, women, the young, older people, people living in poverty, at more risk of disability and disadvantage?
    View relevant publications
  • What impact does the experience of disadvantage have on the wellbeing of people with disabilities?
    View relevant publications
  • What impact does being or becoming disabled have on the disadvantage faced by people with disabilities?
    View relevant publications
  • What helps some people with disabilities be stronger or more resilient in the face of disadvantage?
    View relevant publications