Community and social participation

Discrimination directly affects a person’s participation and inclusion in everyday activities. It can also lead to people avoiding everyday activities, such as going to school or work, attending events or seeking medical help. This, in turn, increases the risk that people with disability will experience social isolation, which can affect their overall health and wellbeing.

About 1 in 3 (32% or more than 1 million) people aged 15 and over with disability avoided situations because of their disability in the last year. This includes:

  • visiting family or friends (40%)
  • going to shops and banks (33%)
  • going to restaurants, cafes or bars (30%)
  • using public transport (25%)
  • working (24%)
  • using public parks or recreation venues (19%) (Figure 1).

People with disability are even more likely to avoid situations because of their disability if they have experienced discrimination. Around 4 in 5 (79%) aged 15 and over who have experienced disability discrimination in the last year also avoided situations because of their disability in that time (figures 2 and 3). This is compared with 1 in 4 (27%) who did not experience discrimination. This is particularly so for people with severe or profound disability and varies depending on the situation avoided.

People with psychosocial disability (disability related to mental health conditions) are the most likely disability group to avoid situations because of their disability. An estimated 2 in 3 (65%) people aged 15 and over avoided situations in the last year, compared with 1 in 4 (25%) with other disability (ABS 2016a).

This group is also more likely to experience discrimination because of their disability. An estimated 1 in 5 (22%) people aged 15 and over with psychosocial disability experienced disability discrimination in the last year, compared with 1 in 17 (5.8%) with other disability.

People with psychosocial disability also account for the highest proportion of disability discrimination complaints the AHRC receives. A total of:

  • 26% complaints are by people with psychosocial disability
  • 19% are by people with physical disability
  • 8% are by people with intellectual or learning disability (AHRC 2018).

References

ABS (Australian Bureau of Statistics) 2016a. Disability, ageing and carers, Australia: summary of findings, 2015: Psychosocial disability. ABS cat. no. 4430.0. Canberra: ABS. https://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/[email protected]/Latestproducts/4430.0Main%20Features902015?opendocument&tabname=Summary&prodno=4430.0&issue=2015&num=&view=

ABS 2016b. Microdata: disability, ageing and carers, Australia, 2015. ABS cat. no. 4430.0.30.002. Canberra: ABS. AIHW analysis of TableBuilder.

AHRC (Australian Human Rights Commission) 2018. Australian Human Rights Commission 2017–18 complaint statistics. Sydney: AHRC. Viewed 17 December 2018. https://www.humanrights.gov.au/sites/default/files/AHRC_Complaints_AR_Stats_Tables_2017-18.pdf

AIHW (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare) 2017. Australia’s welfare 2017. Australia’s welfare series no. 13. AUS 214. Canberra: AIHW. https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/australias-welfare/australias-welfare-2017/contents/table-of-contents