Covid-19 Assistance Project
The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in changes no one could have anticipated. In the disability sector, the pandemic is forcing us to deal with issues and challenges we had not previously considered, while at the same time exacerbating long standing issues.
ACDL knows many people with disability and their associates have experienced a range of issues throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Some issues are new - for example, a loss or significant reduction of support and other services during lockdown. On the other hand, many issues faced by people with disability are amplifications of existing problems - no or minimal access to emergency information/news broadcasts, for example.
To help address these issues, the Australian Centre for Disability Law (ACDL) COVID-19 Assistance Project provides free legal assistance to people with disability and their associates who have experienced legal problems due to COVID-19 restrictions. Some of these issues are legal matters while others are not.
Discrimination is a difficult issue for us to face as a society and individuals. While obvious discrimination is easy to spot, the more subtle forms can be hard to identify. In law, there are two types of unlawful discrimination: direct and indirect discrimination. Direct discrimination occurs when a person with a disability or their associate is treated less favourably than another person without a disability. Indirect discrimination occurs when a condition or requirement that applies to everyone disadvantages a person with a disability.
Why this project now that COVID-19/lockdown is over?
- Prevention – Australians generally, are lucky enough to be going back to ‘business as usual’. However, the experience of many people with disability during lockdown raises several ‘lessons from lockdown’ we need to learn from. We can assist a person with disability to address those issues and/or help document their experiences. From there we can work with agencies to minimise the chance of those issues happening again, should we face another wave of COVID-19 or something else that forces us as a society into lockdown.
- Unexpected consequences – there will be numerous issues from COVID-19 we did not, as a society, know we had. One example of this relates to working from home. During the pandemic, workers across the country adjusted their lives to work from home and now, after a long period, many employers are requiring staff to return to the office. For some people, particularly those with disability or people that have a compromised immune system, returning to the office full–time is not viable. If you are experiencing this or similar issues at work, such as your employer not making reasonable accommodations to help your return to work, ACDL may be able to assist you or provide you with advice or support in talking with your employer or service provider.
COVID-19 has changed the way we think and operate on many levels, so we cannot anticipate every issue. That said, if something has happened and you would like to explore whether it is a legal issue, call ACDL for free, confidential legal advice. ACDL services are free to ANYONE with disability, their carers, and their associates. Free interpreting services are also available if required.
For free, confidential legal advice call 1800 800 708 or 9370 3135.
For more information about the COVID-19 project call Antonietta Natoli, Outreach Program Manager 0417 298 148
Australian Centre for Disability Law
We promote and protect the human and legal rights of people with disability and their supporters through legal advocacy. We do this by providing free legal advice and representing people with disability discrimination cases.
Through our work we proactively aim for recognition and respect of human and legal rights, remove barriers, eliminate discrimination, empower people with disability, and increase provision of access to justice.
Hours & Info
Our advice line is open Mondays, Wednesdays between 9.30am – 12.30pm and Thursdays 1.30pm – 4.30 pm
Voice: 1800 800 708 or (02) 7229 0061
Fax: (02) 9370 3131
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com (for non-legal advice)
Postal: PO Box 989 Strawberry Hills NSW 2012