This paper is an initial step towards building an evidence base on Australian community attitudes to people with disability, on the impact of these attitudes on outcomes for people with disability and on effective policies for improving community attitudes towards them.
In this context, ‘outcome’ refers to the experiences of people with disability as measured by social policy indicators within the domains of education, employment, community and social participation, health and wellbeing, housing and access to support services.
People with disability and their families and carers have reported the effects of negative attitudes towards disability across all life domains; further evidence of these effects includes the experiences of discrimination reported to the Australian Human Rights Commission and constant investments by governments in efforts to change community attitudes. The need to address attitudes was featured in the reports of the consultations for both the National Disability Strategy and the National Mental Health and Disability Employment Strategy (Deane 2009; DEEWR 2009).
FaHCSIA commissioned the SPRC to conduct a scoping project investigating current research on community attitudes towards people with disability.