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Addressing the barriers to deinstitutionalisation (QLD)

2013 - Office of the Public Advocate - People with intellectual disability or cognitive impairment residing long-term in health care facilities: Addressing the barriers to deinstitutionalisation A systemic advocacy report

The history of institutionalising people with intellectual disability in Queensland is similar to the history of institutionalisation of people with intellectual disability in many other western and developing countries, including the United States and the United Kingdom.

Up until the 1980s in Australia, it was common practice for people with disability to reside in large institutions on the outskirts of cities. These institutions housed both children and adults with disability in congregate living environments, with all day‐to‐day decisions made on their behalf by staff.

Originally people with intellectual disability in Queensland were placed in asylums and described as ‘lunatics’ or ‘insane’. Early ‘reforms’ in the 1960s saw the separation of many people with intellectual disability from people with mental illness and the development of training centres and other facilities specifically for people with intellectual disability.

Queensland, like other Australian states experienced significant closures of large institutions and the relocation of people with disability to community‐based living in the 1980s and 1990s. This coincided with increases in community‐based accommodation provided by government and non‐government services. This movement was also given impetus by investigations into cultures of abuse and neglect of people with disability in some of these facilities.

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