Discrimination for the community


    People with disability can experience discrimination when they are treated less favourably than people without disability in similar circumstances. It is against the law to discriminate against someone because of their disability. The Disability Discrimination Act 1992 prohibits discrimination against people with disability in employment, education, publicly available premises, in the provision of goods and services, accommodation, clubs and associations, and other contexts.

    The social model of disability says  ‘disability’ is the result of the interaction between people living with impairments and an environment filled with physical, attitudinal, communication and social barriers. It therefore carries the implication that the environment must change to enable people living with impairments to participate in society on an equal basis with others.

    Discrimination against children and young people with disability

    Children and young people with disability often face discrimination. In the social model of disability, barriers and discrimination occur because of systems, attitudes, structures and institutions that are not inclusive or either directly or indirectly discriminate against people with disability. Children and young people with disability are often denied the right to inclusive education and to participate equally in mainstream settings as their peers without disability.

    The post-school transition to further education and employment for young people with disability is often poor and they receive little tailored information or support. This discrimination and inequality can continue throughout people’s lives, with significantly poorer outcomes for people with disability in areas including higher education, employment, health and social participation.

    Young people with disability experience significantly higher rates of unemployment than those without disability, due to a lack of reasonable adjustments and lower expectations by employers and, therefore, the need to rely on income support. Accessing and obtaining employment is typically characterised by disadvantage and exclusion.

    CYDA’s work is to advocate systemically for the human rights of children and young people with disability and the promotion of equality and non-discrimination.

    Relevant legislation

    There is international and federal legislation to protect people with disability against discrimination, including:

    More information

    For more information about discrimination and your rights, visit the Australian Human Rights Commission website.

    Visit our Get help page to find out more information about the anti-discrimination authority in your state or territory and where you can make a complaint. There are also disability legal services where you can get free legal advice about disability discrimination.