The recent announcement about a trial of closed-circuit television (CCTV) surveillance in Residential Aged Care Facilities (RACFs) in South Australia caused an understandable outpouring of support. People with loved ones in RACFs have seen how cameras installed in bedrooms have caught and exposed perpetrators committing acts of abuse. However, the filming only took place after suspicions of abuse were raised, not before the abuse took place. Public debate has been superficial in focusing on the most obvious of concerns, the privacy of residents.
This report contains a review of the evidence behind the use of CCTV surveillance and takes a closer look at the risks and benefits associated with it to conclude that there is no evidence that it will prevent the abuse of vulnerable residents and we urge caution in its implementation and a very careful evaluation. While we await the results of the Royal Commission and associated recommendations, the aim of this report is to provide materials for a deeper public debate on the efficacy and cost of the CCTV trial in SA, what is needed to improve the model of care for vulnerable people and take a best practice approach to the prevention of abuse.