People with disability are often called ‘inferior’, ‘a burden’, or ‘a menace’. They say people assume they are ‘of no value’, ‘not fully human’, ‘objects of pity’, ‘eternal children’ or ‘better off dead’. Many respondents talked about the long term harm such language can have and how this language reflects the ingrained attitudes and discrimination which still exists in Australia towards people with disability.

Despite the extent of disability in the community, many respondents described being affected by a lack of awareness and understanding of the rights of people with disability. Responses emphasised the need for more education about the rights of people with disability, particularly in schools. They said this, along with discriminatory attitudes, are key factors behind the abuse and mistreatment of so many people with disability.

Many respondents explained the damage caused when people assume people with disability cannot make their own decisions. This often means that people with cognitive disability are denied choice and control over their own lives.

Responses also highlighted the importance of the media accurately depicting people with disability. They called for an end to the ‘shamefully one-dimensional’ and ‘often negative’ portrayals of disability through stereotypes.