There are growing calls to phase out the practice of placing people with a disability together in group homes amid growing reports of neglect and abuse, the ABC reports.
More than 100 academics have published an open letter calling on Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to hold a royal commission into abuses and neglect in the homes.
They say the residences have become the location for similar abuses of the past, and some have said it is time to move to new housing models.
Among those is a former support worker, who only wants to be known as Catherine, who worked in the Hunter Valley for more than a decade.
“I saw people with disability being abused by staff,” she told the ABC.
“I saw staff playing mind games with people with Down syndrome, I saw staff giving people with disabilities cold showers.
Catherine said the problems were not just limited to one provider.
A 2015 Senate inquiry made a key recommendation that there be a royal commission to delve into many allegations of abuse the inquiry received.
Criminologist Dr Claire Spivakovsky from Monash University is among the academics to sign the open letter.
“What so many of us have seen through our own research in this space is people with a disability experience higher rates of violence, abuse and neglect,” she said.
“What the reports are saying is people are being subjected to range of different abuses… people essentially having their bodies controlled by other people.”
Dr Spivakovsky said it was incredibly difficult to find out what was really going on in a group home because of the limitations of residents and culture of silence.
Claire Spivakovsky says a royal commission is the only way to thoroughly address abuse against people with a disability. (Photo supplied)