Experiences of discrimination and bullying against Australians with disabilities

Project Details

Experiences of discrimination and bullying against Australians with disabilities

Despite Australia being a signatory to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), Australians with disabilities experience disability-related discrimination in all aspects of their lives. These experiences are reflected in consultations and submissions to various inquiries including the Willing to Work Inquiry (Australian Human Rights Commission 2016), consultations for the National Disability Strategy (Commonwealth of Australia 2009) and the Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry into Social Inclusion of Victorians with a Disability (Parliament of Victoria 2014). Reducing discrimination against with people with disability has been a key focus of the National Disability Strategy (Commonwealth of Australia 2011) and Victorian Disability State Plan (Victorian Department of Human Services 2012).

While preventing disability-related discrimination has been prioritised, we do not have national population-based estimates about the extent of the problem, who is most affected (e.g. according to type of impairment), and life domains affected (e.g. employment, relationships). We do not know how frequently children with disabilities experience bullying and the effect this has on their educational and health outcomes.

Until recently national statistics people with disabilities experiences of bullying and discrimination were not available, however the Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers (SDAC) collected data on disability-related discrimination for the first time in 2015. The Longitudinal Study of Australia Children (LSAC) has also collected data on disability and experiences of bullying in the past three waves (Wave 4-Wave 6).

The aim of this project is to describe the extent of bullying and discrimination experienced by Australians with disability, and the impact of these on their social and economic participation, as well as their health and wellbeing. The findings will inform the development of two grant proposals. The project is being conducted with the Attitude Foundation. The Foundation aims to relieve discrimination experienced by Australians with disability and shape a new understanding of disability.


Professor Anne Kavanagh
Zoe Aitken
Dr Tania King
Dr Naomi Priest,  Australian National University
Lauren Krnjacki


Seed funding from the Hallmark Disability Research Initiative 2016

Research Outcomes

Research Publications

Krnjacki, L, Emerson E, Llewellyn G and Kavanagh AM. Prevalence and risk of violence against people with and without disabilities: findings from an Australian population-based study. ANZ Journal of Public Health. 2016, 40 (1), 16-21.

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact the research group leader.